PITI, Guam (May 27, 2019) - Color guard members post the colors at half-mast during a Memorial Day ceremony at the Guam Veterans Cemetery in Piti May 27. During the ceremony, local and military residents honored the countless service members, who gave their lives in service to the nation. (U.S. Navy photo by Alana Chargualaf)
PITI, Guam (May 27, 2019) - Color guard members post the colors at half-mast during a Memorial Day ceremony at the Guam Veterans Cemetery in Piti May 27. During the ceremony, local and military residents honored the countless service members, who gave their lives in service to the nation. (U.S. Navy photo by Alana Chargualaf)

Guam’s Local, Military Residents Come Together for Memorial Day Ceremony

by Alana Chargualaf
Joint Region Marianas

ASAN, Guam (May 27, 2019) – Commenced with a flyover of B-52 bombers and flags solemnly lowered to half-mast, hundreds of local and military residents gathered to commemorate Memorial Day during a ceremony at the Guam Veterans Cemetery in Piti May 27.

Surrounded by a vast graveyard of fallen service members, adorned with American flags, those in attendance reflected on the countless men and women who gave their lives braving the battlefield to protect and defend the American freedom.

Following an invocation by Joint Region Marianas Force Chaplain Cmdr. David Yang, Guam National Guard Adjutant General Lt. Col. Esther Aguigui reminded the crowd not to forget the sacrifices of fallen service members and their Gold Star families, to listen and appreciate their stories, and to thank them when opportunities arise.

“Every last Monday in May, we find ourselves reflecting on those who left the comforts of home to fight for us and our freedom, but never return one day to trade the title of Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Coast Guardsman, or Marine for veteran,” she said. “When their country called, they answered. Some volunteered and some were voluntold, but no matter how they found their way into the ranks of the military, each took upon him or herself to serve faithfully and to their fullest. This is commendable in a nation where so few among our citizens have worn the cloth of our flag and accepted the inherent risks. This alone makes them heroes worthy of remembrance.”

Guam Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero expressed her gratitude to service members and their loved ones.

“To our men and women in uniform, to our fallen, and those who continue to fight: Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts. Your service is noble. You are our heroes,” she said. “We stand here with honor, with respect, and with pride in commemoration of you and in support of your families.”

The ceremony proceeded with a series of wreath presentations from Aguigui; Rear Adm. Shoshana Chatfield, commander, JRM; Col. Matthew Nicholson, vice commander, 36th Wing; Capt. Christopher Chase, commander. U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam; Maj. Samuel Dabney, Marine Corps Activity Guam; and members from various Guam veteran associations; a gun salute, and Taps. The ceremony concluded with a special tribute song, a rendition of Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.”

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