Lantern floating ceremony celebrates memories of loved ones

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Despite the cloudy skies, the 5th Annual Proa Lantern Floating Ceremony had a respectable showing of visitors and residents alike.

By Charles Ecret

Nearly 100 people showed up at the Governor Joseph Flores Memorial Beach Park as the Nikkei Guam Association hosted its 5th Annual Lantern Floating ceremony last Saturday.

Despite the cloudy skies, the 5th Annual Proa Lantern Floating Ceremony had a respectable showing of visitors and residents alike.

They celebrated the memories of loved ones passed by decorating and adorning colorful lantern panels with memories and messages of love.

Frank Shimizu, Guam Nikkei Association president, said the event is meant to honor and give respect to loved ones who have passed away all in the spirit of inafa mauleg.

During the ceremony, Celeste Leon Guerrero shared how she lost her 13-year-old daughter to suicide three years ago.

“It’s like yesterday that I lost her, but I always have to put on my brave face for my kids, my husband, and my grandkids,” she said.

“So I hope hearing my story you guys will be a little more supportive of suicide awareness and prevention, she added.

Clifford Guzman also captivated the audience with his story of how he lost his father at age 11, his sister to a self-inflicted gunshot wound at 19, his first wife and mother of his daughter Melissa at age 23, and then his mother. Despite the pain of his loss, Guzman says he chose these words of hope and inspiration.

“Tonight take this opportunity to look deep inside yourself. Think of any unfinished business that you might have with the passing of your loved ones. That something you should have said something you wish you had said … something you wished you had done. I think about that and release it so you can release their spirits to continue their journeys,” Guzman said.

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