Hurry up and wait!
The military personnel who were part of the 73rd Guam Liberation Day parade were unlikely to be surprised by delays in getting the event mobilized. At the Governor's office at Adelup, there was lots of activity and confusion about exactly when the parade would begin. The troops were in place, floats were stacking up, Marine musicians were rehearsed and the bikers ready to go well before the 9 a.m. kickoff. Or was it 10 a.m. as many believed?
Liberation Day parades always seem to turn out well in the end and this one was no exception. Somewhere between 9 and 10 a.m the parade kicked off.
Meanwhile, in Hagatna, the VIPs were getting in place at the reviewing stand, among them, Guam Delegate to Congress, Madeine Z. Bordallo and Joint Region Marianas Commander Rear Admiral Shoshana Chatfield.
And in the spirit of the day, Gene Bell, who arrived on Guam as a Marine replacement in July, 1944, shortly after the invasion, joined Governor Calvo in laying a wreath at the Hagatna Marine Memorial.
Following the wreath laying, Governor Calvo welcomed the participants:
"Buenas and Hafa Adai. On behalf of the people of Guam, we'd like to welcome our co-marshals, our liberators, all our men and women in uniform, all our dignitaries and to all the people of Guam. Today, 73 years ago from our liberation, we are here to celebrate. At the same time as we celebrate our liberation, we remember and pray for all those who suffered the ultimate sacrifice. Not only the soldiers, but the people of Guam that went through hell on earth. And as we move forward to the future it's important that as we reflect on those sacrifices, that we build from those sacrifices. So on this 73rd year of liberation to the people of Guam, let us use those sacrifices as a stimulus so that we can move forward to build a better days for our future generations ahead. So to the people of Guam, God bless you all. Biba Liberation! Biba Liberation!"
And the parade is on
As always, Guam's huge and enthusiastic population of bikers led the Liberation Day Parade.
Virtually no mufflers rattled ears of the parade goers, but this has come to be an expected part of the events.
Of course, as Guam residents have long come to expect, KGTF, PBS, had the action live on the tube.
Meanwhile, the run-up to Liberation Day generates Lib Day Queen candidates. The Queen, the runners-up and past queens all paraded by the reviewing stand.
And of course there were other queens. Like a Kid Queen and a Kid King.
And the parade went on.
There's a Guam Liberation Day tradition that rain must fall at some point. After the B1 bomber flyover, it did.
Lechon to go? One of the floats featured meals on wheels. For those tantalized by that smell wafting out, there was plenty of barbecue going on along the parade route.
And remember all those quonset huts that dotted Guam for generations after the war? The Seabees reminded the parade goers who built them.
Guam's 73rd Liberation Day Parade