Happy Liberation Day: Battle of Guam – July 21, 1944

20/07/2011 § 5 Comments

First US flag on Guam on boat hook mast being staked in ground by 2 US officers on Guam 8 minutes after US Marines & Army assault troops landed on Central Pacific island during WWII.  Taken July 20, 1944, via LIFE.

July 21 marks the 67th anniversary of the Battle of Guam, considered the official date America regained possession of the island of Guam, during World War II.  Guam, the largest of the the Mariana Islands, remains a US territory to this day.  Lasting over two weeks, the battle was difficult, but the victory was decisive.  The day is celebrated as Liberation Day in Guam.

Now, why do I know this?  Purely self interest.  Because my paternal grandfather fought in the Pacific Theatre during World War II, was stationed in Guam, met my grandmother-to-be there (a pretty native Chamorro hula girl), and fell in love.  Unfortunately, I was never able to meet my grandfather, as he passed away when my own father was a boy, so I did not get to hear his wartime stories.  I did, however, hear stories from my grandmother, who has also passed, about her harrowing experiences during the Japanese occupation.

And so, I wanted to share a bit of history as I remember both my grandparents and celebrate the liberation of a place that I am yet to see with my own eyes.  Of course, I’m also deeply thankful to the servicemen and women like my grandfather who sacrificed so much to recapture this tiny speck in the South Pacific.

Happy Liberation Day!

Photos from the LIFE Archives from the Battle of Guam

Last image via US National Archives.

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§ 5 Responses to Happy Liberation Day: Battle of Guam – July 21, 1944

  • charissa (Carrie) Lizama says:

    What a Great!! piece Mariah!! I too have heard stories of our families personal experiences during “The War” from your grandmother, her sisters and their little brother, Jesus Lizama (my father).

    I would like to share a bit of history with you if you did not already know is…my mother, Gladys Mae (Lujan) Lizama was the First Liberation Queen of Guam.

    That is a piece of History that will stay with me, my Family for the rest of Lujan/Lizama generation’s lives.

    Thank you for sharing this article.

    Happy Liberation Day,

    Carrie Lizama

  • […] Guam was remembered by Mariah, who usually writes about fashion in New York, but took time out to post marvelous Life magazine photos from the period, including one of Marines holding a sign thanking our most unsung service, the […]

  • bill McClain says:

    do u have any thing about navajo code talkers?

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