Blessing of the graves held at Sumay cemetery

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In Santa Rita, the graves of the Sumay cemetery were blessed by the chaplain of the Naval Base Guam to honor those who passed away during the war. (US Navy photo)

A blessing of the graves was held at Sumay Cemetery on U.S. Naval Base Guam (NBG) July 20.

Fr. William Brunner, NBG chaplain, blessed the graves and a wreath was laid by staff from the Santa Rita Mayor’s Office alongside NBG Commanding Officer Capt. Jeffrey Grimes and NBG Executive Officer Cmdr. Stephen Ansuini.

The Sumay Memorial Mass is coordinated with the Santa Rita Mayor’s Office yearly. However, due to COVID-19, a smaller event for family members to visit the cemetery was held to honor those who are buried at the cemetery, survived, and died during World War II.

Sumay Village was known as the Pearl of Guam. It was a flourishing coastal town and a hub of commerce. On December 8, 1941, bombs dropped by Japanese planes forced the residents of Sumay to flee the village. Those who stayed would be evacuated by Japanese soldiers and all that would be left behind was a cross from the village church, a few ruined structures, and the village cemetery.

Today, many of the former Sumay residents and their families live in Santa Rita, a village formed after the liberation of Guam in 1944.

(US Navy Public Affairs Office)