Chief Petty Officer Selects from U.S. Naval Base Guam (NBG) and various tenant commands volunteered for a clean-up at the historic Sumay Cemetery and surrounding areas.
Volunteers cleared the cemetery of overgrown debris, raked leaves, painted the cemetery’s perimeter fence, and shined the historic information plaques and the cemetery’s memorial plaque.
The volunteer event is in preparation for a grave blessing on Nov. 2 for All Souls Day, held to honor those buried at the cemetery.
The following commands participated: NBG, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 1, EODMU 5, USS Frank Cable (AS 40) USS Emory S. Land (AS 39), USS Charleston (LCS 18), USS Asheville (SSN 758), Joint Region Marianas, and Commander, Task Force 75
The cemetery’s oldest legible grave marker bears the date 1911 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. 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.
(U.S. Naval Base Guam)