With just days away from the diamond anniversary of the island’s liberation from the occupation of Imperial Japanese forces, three World War II survivors have been chosen to lead Sunday’s liberation parade as Grand Marshals.
At 12 years old, Roman Leon Guerrero Quinata was forced to undergo hard labor for three years while separated from his family before he eventually escaped after the soldiers were distracted by a foreign aircraft.
The second Grand Marshal, David De Leon Flores, was one of 15 men ordered by the Japanese to carry ammunition from Manenggon to the army’s Yigo command.
At the end of the trek, Flores braced himself for the worst when the group was ordered to descend into a dugout. However, a stray shell from a bombarding ship killed the soldiers at the dugout’s entrance, enabling Flores and his group to escape.
The last of the local Grand Marshals is Francisca Quintanilla Franquez, who established a language school to teach the island natives how to speak Japanese.
With each of these individuals having lived vastly different lives during the occupation, they all serve as a reminder to pay respect to those who lived during such a severe time in the island’s history.
You can see the Grand Marshals at the Liberation Day Parade, which will take place this Sunday, July 21, at 10 a.m. in Hagatna.