Guam military, local communities remember WWII massacre victims
AGAT, Guam (NNS) -- Dozens of military members on Guam joined the local community to remember and reflect on the Fena Cave massacre during a visit to the area at the Navy Munitions Site in Santa Rita and memorial ceremony in Agat July 19.
On July 19, 1944 - during the final days of the Japanese occupation of Guam - Japanese soldiers killed more than 30 men and women from Agat and Sumay with grenades and bayonets in the caves near Fena Lake. More than 80 people survived the massacre. In recent years, the U.S. Naval Base Guam (NBG) commanding officer has invited families of victims to visit the cave as part of Guam's Liberation Day festivities.
Capt. Andy Anderson, NBG commanding officer, laid a wreath during a memorial at the Old Agat Cemetery in honor of the victims and survivors of the event.
"They paid the ultimate sacrifice in order to have the freedoms and democracy that we enjoy today," Anderson said. "To do anything other than allow them back to their home, to their ancestral grounds is unimaginable."
More than 100 people attended the event including descendants of massacre victims and survivors to pray for their loved ones and honor all those who suffered through the atrocities of war during the Japanese occupation of Guam.
Agat Mayor Carol Tayama said she was grateful to the Navy for allowing the local community to visit Fena and as it holds heartfelt meaning for family members.
"I'm glad they know how much it means for all of us," she said. "We're grateful for the military for allowing us to do this when it's possible. Knowing they care so much about us means so much and we really and truly appreciate this. It's very heartwarming."
Anderson said he was glad to host the guests onto the base as it reinforces the support the military have for the people of Guam.
"The Navy is a partner with the community," he said. "We are friends, we are families, we are all united towards a joint cause and that cause is freedom and democracy. It is an honor to be here, it is an honor to participate in all those types of ceremonies and I'm privileged to represent the U.S. Navy in that cause."
For more news from U.S. Naval Forces, Marianas, visit www.navy.mil/local/guam/.