- By Bruce Lloyd
Guam's 74th Liberation parade had it all, even a pugua drop
All the elements were there, since after more than seven decades, Guam certainly knows how to put on a show to mark this seminal island event.
There were of course the bikes, hundreds of them, unmuffled and leading the parade down Marine Corps Drive in front of a reviewing stand packed with military brass, Guam politicians, Liberation queens and many other dignitaries.
Marching up the street in front of them were military bands and dozens of local rolling floats marking the big day of Guam's year.
The years since 1944 have drastically trimmed the ranks of those with first hand memories of a troubled and dangerous time for the island. Also on the reviewing stand were the two grand marshals for the parade, Joseph Ada Calvo (left), of Santa Rita and Juan Q. Guzman, of Agat.
The ingenuity and innovation displayed at the Liberation Day parade never cease to amaze, with a pugua drop for the parade goers being a first this year.
Military flyovers of the parade have been a fixture for many years and 2018 was no exception, with a venerable B-52 piercing the cloudy skies, which held off delivering rain for the time being.
Hundreds of island residents died during the war as well as many thousands of the re-invading Americans and the occupying Japanese, but as he opened the parade, Governor Calvo recalled past casualties from one of the later commemorative flyovers.
"My wife and I were invited by the men and women in blue at Andersen Air Force Base to pay homage at a ceremony commemorating Raider 21. If you're not familiar with Raider 21, this was a mission. One B-52 aircraft to fly over this parade route in honor of our Liberation. The unfortunate tragedy ten years ago is that Raider 21 never completed its mission. And the B-52 bomber crashed into the ocean killing all aboard. As we reflect this morning, I think it's so important to understand the mission of the men and women aboard that aircraft. Though it was 64 years since the Liberation, as far as I'm concerned, they were liberators. They died, doing their duty for our island and our people."
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