Remembering the 76th anniversary of the Liberation of Guam in ‘COVID-conflicted 2020’

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The celebrations will be few and muted this coming Tuesday, July 21st, on the 76th anniversary of Guam’s liberation from Japanese occupation during World War II.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic is the cause.

There is no Liberation Carnival this year. The annual Liberation Day Parade has been cancelled. And the traditional wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery did not take place either because that historic site is closed to the general public to prevent the spread of the disease.

In recognition of the upcoming anniversary Guam Congressman Michael San Nicolas posted last year’s ceremony at Arlington on his FaceBook page.

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Remembering the 76th anniversary of Liberation in COVID conflicted 2020 … a look back at the 2019 wreath laying at Arlington. https://t.co/caS8MF3R0v pic.twitter.com/j3mCbzxYLt

In addition the Congressman issued the following statement that reads, in part:

“In the spirit of commemorating Guam’s Liberation from enemy occupation by American forces we wish to still revere this shared sacrifice for freedom that was paid for with the lives of American servicemen, and CHamorus loyal to the United States.

These times capture the essence of our relationship with the United States rescuing us literally in COVID-19 relief providing over $1.5 billion dollars for Guam to feed our families, keep us sheltered, and support our enterprises and programs that we rely on in our daily lives.”

First flag on Guam on boat hook mast. Two U.S. officers plant the American flag on Guam eight minutes after U.S. Marines and Army assault troops landed on the Central Pacific island on July 20, 1944 (wikipedia)

READ the full FaceBook post from Congressman San Nicolas in FULL below:

As part of our official Congressional duties we commemorate the Liberation of Guam with a wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. A ceremony established by our predecessors and carried on every year.

COVID-19 changed that. As it has many things for us this year. Arlington is unavailable for commemorative ceremonies.

In the spirit of commemorating Guam’s Liberation from enemy occupation by American forces we wish to still revere this shared sacrifice for freedom that was paid for with the lives of American servicemen, and CHamorus loyal to the United States.

These times capture the essence of our relationship with the United States rescuing us literally in COVID-19 relief providing over $1.5 billion dollars for Guam to feed our families, keep us sheltered, and support our enterprises and programs that we rely on in our daily lives.

Still, it is but a token of the sacrifice made during World War II. The lives lost, forever changed, and pains no amount of money could ever replace.

It is deeply humbling that we were able to capture this commemoration powerfully, with Sinot Rabon representing the cultural depth of our loss, the Honor Guard of the Tomb at arms, and a Guam son singing Uncle Tote’s CHamoru rendition of the Star Spangled banner on the steps on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

This is all bigger than any one of us. This is all of us.

God bless Guam. God bless United States of America.