Seeking closure of war wounds

Following is the full transcript of Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero's monthly address for July 2019

Håfa Adai,

This month we celebrate the Diamond anniversary of Guam's liberation from Imperial Japanese occupation by United States forces. For nearly three years, beginning December 8, 1941, our people were unwilling participants and ultimately, victims of a war between nations. It became the living horror of our mothers and fathers, our grandmothers and grandfathers, and their friends and neighbors.

And while the wounds of war can heal, the memories of that time are entrenched in the emotional and physical scars of those who survived. But this time of year is about more than tragedy and pain. It's a living memorial to the loved ones we lost, to our liberators who fought and died so that others might live, and to the remaining survivors who are still with us today.

After U.S. troops claimed a bloody victory on Saipan, Japanese forces on Guam sensed their fall was inevitable. Consequently, their treatment of the CHamorus worsened. Countless stories of torture, rape, and executions now permeate our history.

1,170 CHamorus died during the Japanese occupation. 14,721 survived. 75 years later, only a fraction of those survivors are still with us.

After the combined effort of every congressional delegate from Guam, every elected governor, and even a federal law signed by President Obama, the men and women whose courage and sacrifice were recognized by Congress are still waiting for closure 75 years later.