Chagui’an Massacre commemorated

Every year, members of the community gather together for the Chaguian memorial in Yigo. (PNC file photo)

Leaders commemorated the forgotten 45 Chamorro lives of the Chagui’an Massacre as well as the seven men buried in Salisbury during World War II.

Every year, members of the community gather together for the Chaguian memorial in Yigo. This is the last memorial service following the 75th Guam Liberation Day.

It is important for us to remember those who sacrificed their lives and the atrocities and horror that took place all those years ago in order for us to forgive the past and move into an era of peace and friendship.

Almost 75 years ago, while thousands of Chamorros were being held at Manenngon concentration camp in Yona, 45 Chamorro men were forced to carry Japanese weapons to a Japanese command post located at Milalak, Yigo near Chagui’an.

This command post was unknown to the U.S. military sent to liberate the people of Guam from the Japanese. In order to keep their location a secret, Japanese soldiers beheaded the 45 men and became what is known today as the Chagui’an massacre.

On Aug. 8, 1944, the 21st Marine Regiment discovered the bodies of the 45 men who were beheaded with their hands tied behind their backs. The names of those 45 men are listed on a board at the memorial site.

On Thursday, military and government officials, as well as relatives of the fallen men, pay tribute during a memorial mass and service.

This year, there are new names added to the list of the forgotten 45. John Blaz, chairman of the Chagui’an Memorial Committee, said there were seven unidentified men who were found near the massacre site in Chagui’an Yigo.

Blas is reaching out to the community for information regarding the names of these seven men.

He said that so far, they have identified the next of kin or descendants of four and are hoping to identify the remaining three unknown men.

If you have any information, or would like to learn more, call the Yigo mayor’s office at 653-9119.