Residents have mixed reactions to cancellation of holiday activities

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Normally, on the Fourth of July, island residents would gather on the beach and at parks to barbecue.

Tomorrow is the Fourth of July but like many US states, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected celebrations on Guam. PNC spoke to several island residents who had mixed reactions to the cancellation of the Fourth of July Fireworks and Guam’s Liberation Day festivities.

Normally on the Fourth of July, island residents would gather on the beach and at parks to barbecue and watch the sky light up with fireworks.

During Liberation Day, thousands would gather for the annual parade and fireworks to cap the night. But this year, there will be no fireworks show for local residents.

So PNC hit the streets this morning to find out how residents would be celebrating these holidays given the current social distancing guidelines.

With the fireworks and big gatherings of over 25 people out of the window, island resident Casey Camacho doesn’t know what he’ll do.

“It kind of sucks now becasue we can’t really enjoy with our own family and stuff and our kids. They make it seem like, you know, so we have to kind of stay away from most of the family gatherings … and that kind of sucks. I don’t know what we’ll do … probably just stay home and spend the time with the kids only,” Camacho said.

Other residents like Francine Mclaughlin and Anna Par believe that cancelling the events is the right thing to do.

“I’d rather be safe than sorry, quite simple. Normally, we would barbecue watch the fireworks. This year, we’ll barbecue but just us,” Mclaughlin said.

Parr added: “We know how to enjoy at our house. Stay home so we can be safe.”

Meanwhile, Patricia Duenas believes that celebrating special events like the Fourth of July and Guam’s liberation should continue despite the pandemic.

“It’s important… it’s important to Guam because it’s our liberation. I am sorry I am not pure Chamorro …  I wasn’t born here but I celebrate it because my dad fought for the island and I think it’s important. I came to Guam in 1948 I was only a baby but I cherish it and I think everybody should cherish it. You know it shouldn’t be kept away, virus or no virus,” Duenas said.

She added: “We look forward to the boom. I don’t know about you but where I live I see it when I come out of my house. So you know it’s important to some of us I don’t know about the rest.”

While there is no fireworks display or events for locals to celebrate the Fourth of July this year, on Naval Base Guam at 8 pm tonight, MWR will light the up the skies over NBG with the “Let Freedom Ring” fireworks display starting at 8 pm. You must have base access to watch the display.

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Jolene Toves
Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.