The annual festival which leads up to Guam's July 21st Liberation Day observation got underway Wednesday night as tourists lined up for barbecue and food trucks parked as close as possible while light rain sprinkled the grounds. Nearly 30 vendors and a slew of entertainment are planned for this year’s annual Liberation Festival.
According to a news release from the Governor's office, this year’s festival will start July 11 and end on July 22. Hours of operation will be 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily with the exception of two nights - on July 20 and July 21 the carnival will close at 11 p.m.
But in keeping with tradition dating back to the 1944 American re-invasion of Guam, festival goers were not spared a taste of the bloody history that led to this observation.
Diocese of Agana Archbishop Miichael J. Byrnes offered an opening prayer. "Almighty God, rejoice in the freedom that you've awarded our country. And we will remember in many of the days ahead especially the days of liberation and restoration that ensued afterwards. Pray that you will give us the wisdom to exercise our freedom... Pray that in the days ahead, our celebrations may touch our hearts and strengthen our souls."
And Governor Eddie Baza Calvo recalled that his own parents were part of the events when the Japanese marched local civilians to the Mannengon prison camp as American troops stormed the beaches. But during a part of the year dedicated to
Guam 1st Lady Christine Calvo, Governor Calvo, Archbishop Michael J. Byrnes
celebration of the liberation from the tyranny of occupation, Calvo said the costs can't be forgotten.
"Hey, there's going to be an election and there'll be another governor here next year honoring this event, celebrating democracy and the ability to vote for our leaders. This was all paid for in blood. Paid for in blood by those Marines and the Army soldiers that stormed the beaches to liberate our island and the blood of our ancestors, our parents and grandparents. That's why we're here to celebrate today."