July 21 – Liberation Day in Guam

Posted on July 21, 2014

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful island occupied by the Chamorro people. A faraway nation called Spain colonized this island and built forts there, but later Spain lost control of the island after losing a war. 

The island was ceded to the United States, and it began to be used as a convenient port to and from the Philippines.

Later on, a huge World War swept over the beautiful island as Japanese troops took over. This was a dark time for the island's inhabitants. Forced labor and torture and even beheadings occurred as the islanders were forced to adopt the Japanese culture.

Finally, on this date in 1944, U.S. troops landed on the island and fought the Japanese soldiers. The battle was intense and bloody, but by the end of the day the United States held the island.

The island is Guam, and it is this liberation from the Japanese that Guam celebrates today.

Liberation Day parade
The U.S. still has a special relationship with Guam, which is considered an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States. Citizens of Guam have most of the same rights as other American citizens, although their votes in the presidential election are “straw votes” that don't count toward electoral votes. The official languages are English and Chamorro, but the culture of Guamanians is a mixture of American, Spanish, Filipino, Micronesian Islander, and Mexican traditions. There are few customs remaining from the original Chamorro culture.

The Latte Stones were built by ancient Chamorro people, and are believed to have supported the houses of the wealthy.

Guam has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and they attract a lot of tourists.

Most people define sand as the grains left over from a mixture of many different sorts of eroded rocks. Using that definition, Guam doesn't have sand! Instead, the beautiful white beaches are made up of ground-up coral bits.

The bougainvillea is Guam's national flower, and the motto is “Where America's day begins” because of Guam's location east of the International Date Line. (I guess Alaska gets to be “where America's day ends,” with Hawaii being nearly as far west.

Also on this date:

Independence Day in Belgium

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