The Guam Veterans Cemetery in Piti was the backdrop for the annual Memorial Day Commemoration of those who fell in past American wars. There were all the traditional elements: solemn speeches, wreath laying, a military flyover and of course, a 21-gun salute to the departed.
On veteran heavy Guam, the commemoration was well attended, cars overflowing the parking lot and bracketing the road to the former World War II headquarters of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz.
Rear Admiral Shoshana Chatfield, Commander, Joint Region Marianas, the guest speaker.
“These men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice are true examples of American patriots. They willingly put their lives on the line to ensure the safety and security of our nation and our fellow citizens. As we pay tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, we remember the strengths of our veterans and the qualities that instill pride in each and every American that benefits from their service.”
Chatfield, who has been serving on Guam for a few months now commended the island for its patriotism. “I have lived and visited many places throughout the world and the U.S. mainland and yet I find there is no other community that consistently demonstrates the true meaning of patriotism than the people of Guam. More than nine thousand veterans can be found on Guam and it’s no wonder,” he said.
“It’s been said, time and time again, that Guam boasts the highest number enlistment rate in the entire United States. This speaks volumes of Guam’s resilience and dedication to our country… Service members like Hospital Corpsman Second Class Anthony Carbullido, who died on August 8, 2008 when his convoy hit an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. Petty Officer Carbullido was born and raised in Guam in the village of Agat and is remembered as a friendly, helpful and outgoing person. He knew he wanted to serve in the Armed Forces and chose the Navy to become a corpsman because he wanted to help the sick and wounded. The immense love he had for his family, friends and his island will be forever remembered in the hearts and minds of those he touched.”
There were also remarks by Acting Governor of Guam Ray Tenorio.
“We don’t forget each one of the names that are etched on these places. Each one of these names are memorials in and of themselves. They make us proud, because our uncles and our aunties, our fathers and our mothers and everyone including my children who are in service to our country to this day know that but for their sacrifice and courage, we would not be here today.” Tenorio said.
“We have the proudest, strongest, smartest, most advanced technologies being used. But none of those technologies come close to the spirit of the American soldier, sailor, marine, coastguardsman and any veteran who has come before us… We are proud of the people who have fought and died and the people who continue to put themselves in harm’s way so that we can live the American dream, the Guamanian dream and all of your individual dreams,” he added.