by Tanna Tarpley

Guam - Lots of planning has gone into Saturday's big Liberation Day celebration downtown in Hagatna. Guam is gearing up for its 68th Liberation Day celebration tomorrow, with the annual parade set to begin at 10am, with the first float passing the grandstand, and ending at 2:20 in the afternoon.

According to Liberation Parade coordinator Jessy Gogue, you can expect to see around 35 floats make their way down Marine Corps Drive. One includes for the first time ever, Guam's current and past queens making a round on the parade route. "It'll remind us, we got to think about the theme, '68 Years of Progress Through Peace', so it'll be reminding us not only of this year's liberation, but the past years liberations with their queens and hopefully some of the past queens there representing when they were reigning queens for liberation," said Gogue, who is also mayor of Ordot-Chalan Pago.

He also explained that included in the opening of the parade is a parachute demonstration which will touch down in front of the grandstand. And being front and center in the grandstand is this year's appointed grand marshal, 85-year-old Lagrimas "Ama" Flores Aflague. Alfague is used to being a part of the parade festivities, seeing that she was the overall chairman for the Liberation Day Parade for eight consecutive years during former governor Joe Ada's term.

Alfague who was 14 during the Japanese occupation, as she reflected on the island's three and a half years under Japanese occupation and explained what liberation means to her. "Believe me, even though I was chairman of carnivals, to me is peace, peace, peace because of the fact that during the time when you're under the Japanese regime, all you have is fear. Fear for your life, fear for your family. So that nagging emotional feeling of fear disappears right when you're liberated," she said proudly.

Aflague also looked back at the time of the occupation and reveals that she feels very fortunate,s ayingm I have no ill feeling about them because they didn't mistreat us. None of us, not our area. And if they were I don't know it."

Alfague was one of the lucky families who didn't face severe punishment during the Japanese occupation, however, reflects on one incident with Japanese soldiers. "I was playing the piano and two of the Japanese people who passed by in the road thought I was playing. Well I did, I was playing American songs but they don't like that. So they slapped me once - only once," she recalled. "They only forced us to watch people be beheaded."

Before U.S. forces arrived Aflague described how Japanese soldiers in the village of Talofofo, would raid houses and take new six girls every day to take home for the night. She also revealed how even bowing incorrectly put you at risk of being disciplined. To help her through this time, Aflague turned to music. She was the music teacher at George Washington High School for seven years and even played us some songs she remembered playing as a young girl during the war.

Aflague is honored to be appointed as this year's grand marshal and although she looks forward to taking part in the parade, she hopes people will take this time to remember the great strife many people went through during the occupation and pay respect to the many citizens and soldiers who passed away or suffered during this time. "Our people should always remember that time," she shared. "You know, you forget it's human.  At the time that it happened we were so affected by it and then afterwards you forget. and some people just completely forget but I think every liberation part of it should be spiritual."