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Book captures Guam's war time experience

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It's the final book in a trilogy that provides a look at the Guam's war time experience. Last night a special book signing ceremony was held at the Sheraton for the Guam War Survivors Memorial Foundation launch of Legacy Beyond Faces: A Sentimental Journey Generation to Generation.

Jose Santos Torres was only eight years old when Japan began its occupation of Guam in 1941. When it ended he was eleven.  It was a horrifying experience that no one should ever have to endure. Before his eyes he watched his uncle beheaded, he also lost his brother at the hands of the Japanese.

Torres said, "They tell me he was whistling the national anthem at the time, but I didn't know I didn't see it I didn't hear but that's what I heard happened. The teacher or sensai took this stick and hit him over the head many times.  And the next day he died from brain hemorrhaging."

Like Torres, Rosita Guzman Duenas Diaz was also a child during the Japanese Occupation of Guam during World War II. It happened so many years ago, but they're painful memories she can't escape. Like thousands of Chamorros they were forced to march to the Mannengon Concentration Camp in Yona. Every second was filled with fear. "Every time we hear something we had to run and hide and with the family walking, we were so sad," he said.

Rosita and Jose's stories are featured in the final installment of a trilogy of books published by the Guam War Survivors Memorial Foundation. The book is titled Legacy Beyond Faces: A Sentimental Journey Generation to Generation. Over the last several years the foundation has been working with survivors and their families to chronicle Guam's wartime legacy. Victoria Leon Guerrero has been with the project since the beginning serving as copy editor.

"It's so exciting to imagine that we not only have one but three of these books that really keep these stories alive for generations to read and learn from  and also just to honor these survivors and their life stories  and their families," she said.

All three books are available for purchase at the Frank Blas and Associates office in Barrigada.

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