by Krystal Paco
Guam - It's been 68 years since the U.S. Marines liberated Guam from Japanese occupation and although the fighting has stopped, it's important reflect. South Pacific Memorial Association director Aoki Kazu says this is the 6th Annual Peace Ceremony at the historical Yigo site.
"We cannot forget about war. We hope to see in the future peace," he said. "So every year we do a peace ceremony here."
spma board member Art De Oro says the association dates back to 1965 as a result of collaboration between Guam and Japan to pray for the remains of Japanese soldiers who were spread throughout the island. Today's ceremony included a joint prayer for peace by Buddhist and Catholic clergy, called the "Maria Kanon Festival."
De Oro said, 'During the war down below the depression that's where General Bata had the command post and this was the last site where the battle ended on Guam in 1944."
Two Japanese veterans were present, 92-year-old Shigeru Nagata and 82-year-old Kazuo Hoshi. Nagata stood at the site this afternoon remembering his days as a soldier, but finds peace looking at the tower that resembles a pair of hands praying. "Yes I feel peace in my mind when I visit here now," he said.
Hoshi recalls he was a meteorology student in Saipan when war broke out., telling KUAM News, "I was a civilian at that time when the war started and Americans landed here we were incorporated into the military and that's the time we were trained to throw grenades and how to fight." Hoshi added, "Looking back at the war time and now that it's so peaceful I feel relieved that it's so peace, and hopefully this peace will last long."
The SPMA is set to work with Inafa'maolek for the month of October in celebration of Peacemaker Month.