Guam – The sun shone brightly down on the Manenggon Memorial Saturday for the annual ceremony of remembrance for those who died and those who survived the Japanese occupation of World War II.
Hundreds gathered at the site of the concentration camp in Yona, where 68 year ago nearly 20-thousand Chamorros were herded into the Manenggon valley ahead of the U.S. invasion which liberated the island. Many died along the march to Manenggon, other died behind the barbed wire.
81 year old Irene Perez Sgambelluri-Beruan remembered the occupation. She was 13 at the time. “We worked so hard and we were always hungry. We made our shoes with wood and straps made from rubber tires.”
When they were marched to the Manenggon camp she said “I was so scared that my life would end in the camp.”
“I lost family, my home and the life I knew,” said Sgambelluri-Beruan, but “I and many survivors have moved on, forgiving and found peace.”
Manenggon Memorial Foundation Chair, Senator Tina Muna-Barnes said the ceremony “memorializes the struggle and honors your sacrifices.” She asked the survivors from that time to stand, pointing out that “each and every year the chairs get fewer and fewer.”
[Survivors place candles before the Manenggon Memorial Monument]
Japan’s Counsel General, Hisatsugu Shimizu was present for the ceremony along with a delegation of city officials from Okayama Japan.