III MEF Band rings in 73 years of freedom for Guam

by Corporal Matthew Kitzen-Abelson
III Marine Expeditionary Force

One of the few disadvantages of being born into a free society is that it is impossible to know the egregious hardships that exist elsewhere in the world, or that preceded any freedoms currently enjoyed. Guam is one of a few places in the world today where survivors of a decisive battle are celebrated, revered — and still living. Seventy-three years after the 3rd Marine Division led American forces in liberating Guam, the sense of patriotism and gratitude for the current political environment seems almost as fresh as it must have in 1944. It is one of the privileges that the III MEF Band experiences on their annual trip to the island, which took place from July 17th - 22nd.

As a mainstay in the week of festivities honoring the liberation, the III MEF Band is a familiar presence to the people of Guam. Performances featured the Wind Ensemble, Brass Band, Ceremonial Band, and Popular Music Group. Situated toward the end of a busy time of year in which the band provides musical support for many military ceremonies on Okinawa, the performances in Guam allow the unit to focus on community outreach efforts and strengthening ties with music educators and youth ensembles.

One gentleman, in attendance at the Brass Band’s show at Micronesia Mall, wore a look of fulfillment at seeing the Marines perform. Tony Cabusi, from Guam, served as an infantryman in the United States Marine Corps from 1977-1988. For Cabusi, seeing the band’s performances, especially when they play the Marines’ Hymn, fills him “with an unshakeable sense of pride in having been a part of the ongoing legacy of the Marine Corps.” In terms of reaching out to Guam’s musical population, a new relationship was formed this year between the III MEF Band and the Guam Territorial Band. Marines from the Popular Music Group met with young musicians from the Guam Territorial Band’s Rock Band and performed for each other before concluding with a joint jam session.

In a day where Americans are engaged in much cultural self-reflection, a week on the territory of Guam is a welcome reminder that vocal patriotism is still extant. Their pride and love for the Marines and America will always be a gratifying feeling to witness.

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