I remember sitting in my history classes learning about World War II consecutively, year after year of the same information being drilled into my brain. For most of the fighting, the United States did their best to remain out of it. However, it wasn’t until December 7, 1941 – the day which will live in infamy — that President Franklin D. Roosevelt changed their statement of neutrality to a declaration of war. What some people may not know is that on the same day, which would’ve been December 8, 1941 in Guahan, the island of Guam became a victim to the heinous occupation of the Japanese.
At the height of the battles in the Asian-Pacific theatre of World War II, the American allied forces continued to push through the islands of the Pacific. Their strategic method known as “island-hopping” allowed them each to obtain small victories the closer they got to the Land of the Rising Sun. It wasn’t before long that they would eventually arrive on the island of Guam.
July 21, 1944
History books will recognize this date as the Second Battle of Guam. To the CHamoru people, this celebratory time in their wartime struggle is revered as Liberation Day. On this day in the World War II archives, American troops raided the island and drove out the Japanese; thus, bringing the long awaited freedom the CHamoru people hoped for.
This year, 2019, marks the 75th year since Liberation on that fateful day. CHamoru people on the island and the mainland United States prepare for the festivities that can go on for days. Aside from the food, there’s a Liberation Queen that is selected every year as representation. On the island, it becomes an annual fair with games, parades, and other ways of expressing the momentous event. In a way, it’s the “independence” day from the brutalities done by the Japanese rule over our people.
As Liberation Day approaches, it is important to not only celebrate the occasion but to also remember those who came before us.
Ti bai maleffa.