74th CNMI Liberation Day ceremony will go on, virtually

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(Photo courtesy Saipan Mayor FaceBook page)

Saipan Mayor David Apatang has announced that the 74th Liberation Day on July 4th will go on, virtually, despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“We will commemorate our 74th Liberation Day on July 4th 2020…VIRTUALLY,” said Mayor Apatang in a news release. “Additionally, this will be a Commonwealth-wide Liberation Day commemoration, Saipan will be joined by islands of Tinian, Rota and the Northern Islands.”

“We will weave our Liberation Day events to make sure that we honor our ancestors while meeting all of the Governors Covid-19 task force and CHCC guidelines,” declared the Mayor.

The theme of this year’s CNMI Liberation Day festivities is “Strength in UNity-Marianas Strong.”

The Mayor said he would be partnering with local stakeholders to ensure that “this Liberation Day is a day we showcase our resilience as a community during this pandemic.”

A program of events will issued soon after approval has been granted by the Governors Covid-19 Task Force and CHCC.

READ the release from Mayor Apatang in FULL below:

For Immediate Release June 2, 2020 

74TH CNMI LIBERATION DAY COMMEMORATION WILL GO ON… VIRTUALLY 

On June 11, 1944 the Battle of Saipan began with the United States of America shelling the island of Saipan. Over the course of four days, the United States dropped 165,000 large shells on the island of Saipan. On June 15, 127,000 US troops began landing on Saipan to fight the 32,000 entrenched Japanese soldiers occupying the island. 

The civilian population did not have a safe zone and were left to fend for themselves. 

When the fighting ended on July 9, 1944, the civilian population of Saipan who survived the fighting were placed into Camp Susupe. Camp Susupe held 13,500 Japanese including Okinawans, 1,350 Koreans, 2,230 Chamorros, and 800 Carolinians. Later, a new camp was built in Chalan Kanoa for the Chamorros and Carolinians. 

The Japanese and Koreans were repatriated in 1946. On July 4, 1946, after two long years inside the fence, the gates of Camp Chalan Kanoa were opened and those who had survived one of the most brutal battles of World War II were set free. Every year after that has been celebrated as Liberation Day. Remembering our past is extremely important. 

From the past, we can learn and chart our future. 

Liberation Day is a day when we remember our families who bravely survived a war between two gigantic powers who viciously fought for control of our precious islands. It is a day when we cherish the memory of those who made our freedom possible; our ancestors, the valiant soldiers that fought, were wounded or died in the Liberation of Saipan. For the 2,230 Chamorro and 800 Carolinians of Saipan who survived the war, World War II is a historic landmark etched in our memories through loss, sorrow, and eventual triumph. 

Today, the Coronavirus pandemic currently ravaging the entire world as has rarely been seen, has destroyed certainties, undermined assurances, and shattered most of our beliefs.

Never before has humanity appeared so fragile and helpless. We feel the loss and sorrow of not being able to visit families like we used to, socialize like we are used to, not being able to worship as we used to, and many more of the new “norms”. Although our hard times are NOTHING to be compared with sufferings endured by our elders during Camp Susupe, we must learn from our forbearer’s that the keys to survival in yet another colossal occurrence is to be patient, prayerful, loving and respectful. 

Today as your Mayor, I announce that we will commemorate our 74th Liberation Day on July 4th 2020…VIRTUALLY. Additionally, this will be a Commonwealth-wide Liberation Day commemoration, Saipan will be joined by islands of Tinian, Rota and the Northern Islands.

Together, we will weave our Liberation Day events to make sure that we honor our ancestors while meeting all of the Governors Covid-19 task force and CHCC guidelines. 

Our Liberation Day theme will be STRENGTH IN UNITY-MARIANAS STRONG. 

Our office is partnering with KKMP radio and other local stakeholders to make sure that this Liberation Day is a day we showcase our resilience as a community during this pandemic. 

All the while we will pay respects to our forefathers who have done so much to build and sustain our very own culture and heritage and may this Liberation Day be special for our entire community. 

Our program of events will be forthcoming after approval from the Governors Covid 19 Task Force and CHCC. Let’s showcase our Marianas solidarity and resilience and continue carry it through the years. Happy Liberation Day 2020 to the whole Commonwealth!

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