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Liberation Parade changes direction

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 by Allyson Chiu

Guam - Liberation Day paradegoers will be treated to something a little different this year. Here's what you need to know when you head down to the annual celebration in the island's capitol.

Several changes are in store for this year's Liberation Parade. One, for instance, is the fact that it will now travel north to south. The parade will now start from the Paseo Loop and end at Adelup.  Liberation Parade chairperson, Dededo mayor Melissa Savares, told KUAM News, "If you're coming from the north and parts of central, you'll see that it's congested and most of those areas will be closed off. The main road from Routes 1 and 4 through Adelup will be open until 7am. The back streets in Hagatna are open. Another change that they will see different this year is that skinner plaza there's more vehicle flow or traffic flow at that place because the grandstand is not right in front of skinner's plaza. It's going to be in the front parking lot of Chamorro Village, so there'll be a little more space to move around that area, not to put up any canopies but for people to watch the parade."

As for the grandstand it will be now located in front of Chamorro Village, so instead of liberators and survivors of the Japanese occupation viewing the parade last - they will be first. "We're celebrating 70 years and one of the things I thought really hard in the committee, we brainstormed about this. We talked to many groups, especially public safety because you know it's going to be a safe area and a safe thing to do," the mayor added. "We have seven liberators who are 88 and 90, we want to let them see everything first. They usually see everything at the end when everything's melted down, the makeup's all smeared. This is our way of thanking the liberators but also honoring the survivors because we also have a survivors tent that is attached to the reviewing stand and the man'amkos are more than welcome to come and join and watch the parade from there."

Although the route changed, all other aspects of the Liberation Day festivities will remain the same. An early fireworks display will be set off Sunday night at 8 o'clock for the campers along the parade route in addition to the evening of liberation day at the Tiyan carnival grounds.  The Liberation Fireworks Family Show lights up at 7pm while the big show - the Platinum Fireworks Spectacular - kicks off at 10pm.

The theme of this year's liberation is generations of service and sacrifice. According to Savares it's exactly why we celebrate and commemorate this special day. "The people coming together and seeing our survivors that are still able to come out and participate because that's why we're celebrating liberation because of the hardship they went through during the hardship that they went through during the occupation of Japanese forces," she said. "But also the stories that they share, they don't only share it with their families but when they're all together you can hear the stories and that's the memorable part that's really the true meaning of our celebration."

Happy Liberation Day, Guam!
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