Guam Stripes archive: Guam celebrates liberation day
AGANA – Tens of thousands of people lined two miles of Marine Drive in Agana to celebrate the 37th anniversary last week of the liberation on Guam and witnessed what officials are calling “the most successful Liberation Day parade ever.”
Department of Public Safety officials estimated the crowds at between 20,000 and 25,000. They braved better than 90-degree heat for more than four hours to cheer more than 100 marching units and village and organizational floats participating in the event.
Gallons of soda pop and beer quenched the thirst of participants and viewers alike, and there were clowns and balloons to keep the kids launching. More than a dozen beauty queens lent their charm to the festivities, and float riders created a Mardi Gras-like atmosphere, tossing plenty of lagniappe – candy, peanuts, ice cream bars, cookies and (a Pacific-island cheer-inducer) betel nut – to the crowd.
FLOATS RANGED from the unusual to the elaborate. One was simply a pickup truck covered entirely in beer cans, while another was adored with Grecian columns and yards and yards of bunting and, still another was decorated with a huge, moving, paper mache coconut crab.
The parade’s theme was “Partners in Progress.” Many servicemen and women and their families helped construct floats and many float riders were military personnel.
Marching units including Boy and Girl Scouts, high school dance troupes, Sea Cadets, a contingent of Philippine Scouts and drill teams as well as a group of U.S. Marines, whose predecessors stormed the beaches at Agat and Asan 37 years ago to begin the 18-day battle that liberated the island.
An international flavor was lent by a procession of costumed members of the Korean Association of Guam, a gold-canopied float bearing a youthful “maharajah” surrounded by veiled beauties and a Lion Dance performed by members of the Chinese Association of Guam.