15,000 names listed on "Guam's Wall of Strength"
Wednesday, December 10th 2014, 4:50 PM ChST
Guam - It's a big week in Guam's history. It was 73 years ago Japanese planes dropped bombs on the island and thousands of Chamorros left to live under Japanese occupation before Guam's liberation.
"What you have behind is a wall with the names of over 15,000 individuals who either suffered and died during the war or survived that war over 70 years ago," explained Guam War Survivors Memorial Foundation president Frank Blas Jr. He told KUAM the traveling exhibit entitled "Guam's Wall of Strength: Names Never Forgotten" is seeing a great response from community members.
"I've had everything from sheer joy of being able to see the names of their grandparents, their aunties and uncles - to tears. Bringing back the memories but also thanking us for honoring them and for giving them something that generations can remember them by," he said.
While Blas acknowledges that war reparations weren't included in the most recent National Defense Authorization Act, there's plenty of ways we can pay tribute to war survivors. "It's unfortunate that it was not successful. That said, we can't stop. You talk to a number of the survivors. It's really not about the money. It's about the recognition," Blas said. "Shame on us if we don't remember this and we're not able to tell the world about what our people went through. This is our continued effort to be able to make sure that that's never forgotten."
The display complements the wall at the Asan Memorial Park with names corresponding to the same panels as the original.
All the names were provided by the National Parks Service through the congressional office who serve as the official keeper of the names.
The display is located on the second floor of the Agana Shopping Center and open during mall hours through December 14.
If you're looking for stories from the survivors themselves, the foundation is also selling "Real Faces: Guam's World War II Survivors."