Guam - They are called the forgotten 45. Yigo mayor Rudy Matanane said, "The site where this white cross marks the location of where 45 Chamorro men executed 69 years ago by Japanese imperial forces."
The Forgotten 45 were from the Manenngon concentration camp forced to carry war supplies to the Japanese command post at Mount Mataguac. But they never returned. Mayor Matanane says what happened here is a story that must be told, noting, "We must continue this journey forward toward peace to forgive but not to forget that fateful tragedy of World War II by educating our children. And future generations of Guam about the forgotten massacre of Chaguian," he said.
The story of what happened in Chaguian was actually uncovered in secret journals by students from the University of Guam in 2004. Through their research it was unveiled that on August 8th 1944 a U.S. Marine patrol from the 21st Regiment discovered the site of the Chaguian massacre. 45 young Chamorro men were found with their hands tied behind their backs and decapitated. Governor Eddie Baza Calvo reflected on the theme of this year's liberation commemoration "Stories of Courage and Faith".
He said, "There were no stories to be told because those that again were part of this terrible tragedy they were not witness there were no stories this was a complete massacre there were no survivors. The only witnesses were those who perpetrated these acts and nature, the trees and God and this beautiful scenery that we have here."
A second ceremony is also planned for August 8th on the anniversary of the day the 45 men were discovered by the Marines. A memorial mass will be held here at Chaguiaan at ten in the morning.