A little more than a week after the island’s Liberation festivities, a war survivor got to tell her story at a Guam Chamber of Commerce meeting on Wednesday.
Maria Cruz Quitugua was only eight years old when the first few Japanese planes flew over Guam, signaling the beginning of the island’s involvement with the Second World War.
At 86 years old, and as the guest speaker at yesterday’s Guam Chamber of Commerce general meeting, Quitugua recalled her memories of starvation, hardship, and fear during the Imperial Japanese occupation.
Near the end of her speech, she expressed her discontent whenever she would hear that people are not happy with the increase of military presence on the island.
“I suffered so much during the Japanese times. I want the military to be in Guam because I have seen it already if we don’t have them,” Quitugua said.
During her speech, she relayed her concerns about potential threats being posed to the island by foreign entities such as China, Russia, and North Korea.
“The United States armed forces are the best defense for Guam. God and the military saved us. If we don’t support them, who will protect us? We won’t have anyone to defend us when we need it,” Quitugua said.
Her speech comes a little more than a week after the island celebrated its 75th Liberation anniversary and referenced concerns expressed by some members of the community about the buildup’s impacts on the island’s environment, cultural heritage sites, political status, and others.
At the end of Quitigua’s speech, she drew significant applause from many members and guests of the chamber for sharing her story.