Interviews

Read here excerpts from the oral history interviews.
(click here to see video excerpts)

Pre-War
There existed an intangible spirit of life (in pre-war Guam) which molded the island's uniqueness...

"What you want from the sea you can go out and enjoy what you want. If you want clams, clams, if you want oysters, oysters, if you want fish, you can catch a fish...even I am a woman, I can go out there and catch plenty fish myself."
Tan Maria Camacho on living in pre-war Sumay

"The Malesso before the war was quite a simple community of about 100 families, an agrarian community, a non cash economy, almost a hand to mouth existence, its a subsistence economy."
Jesus M. Torres, Malesso resident, then teenager

"In the late 1930s in Agana it cost a quarter to see Clark Gable and Jean Harlow movies, Hopp-along Cassidy and Shirley Temple matinees cost 10 cents,  sodas cost a nickel at Butler's and Elliots soda fountains... “ 
From the Narration, Guam’s Liberation

Invasion
The tin and thatch houses ripped and rattled from the straffing bullets…the town turned black with smoke…

"The Japanese plane was flying so low over (the village of Sumay) I could see the pilot inside the plane!"
Jesus C. Lizama, young Sumay resident during strafing of village.

“I ran out my back door and tried to find some place to hide. I see most of the people are running through the streets, crying and scared. We ran to the church and hid there.“  
Delores Flores, young Sumay mother at time of invasion

The Japanese started yelling and running into the Plaza, rushing in screaming, bayonets fixed. We thought that we were going to be killed!”
Pedro Guerrero Cruz, Island Defender at Plaza
de Espana Naval Headquarters during Japanese
invasion 1941

The American Navy headquarter staff, officers and Governor Captain MacMillan were told to strip to their underwear and were held at Japanese gunpoint. The governor’s surrender statement read “I do hereby, as a result of superior military forces landed in Guam this date as an act of war, surrender this post…” 
From the Narration, Guam’s Liberation

Occupation
The occupying Japanese military told the Chamorros to simply forget about the Americans, because they had given up on Guam and would never come back.


“When there were no Japanese around we all singing…sing so loud! We had the faith that the American's would come!"
Maria Garrido, Sinajana on the American patriotic Uncle Sam Song

"If you reveal my whereabouts, remember that the Americans will have no compunction of putting a woman before a firing squad."
Augeda Johnston, island educator, quoting a letter to her from George Tweed, sole American hideout during the occupation.

“I lay there ...and act like a dead, ne. I open my mouth like this...the flashlight keep on moving...he kick, you move...he stick you with bayonet, eee, or cut...like this. I don't move until the flashlight go...”
Jack Leon Guerrero, Merizo, on his surviving the Tinta cave massacre.

“I feel the hit on my neck and I am gone, fall into the pit. I wake and sleep, finally I wake...I brush dirt away 'cause I can't breathe...I crawl out the pit and crawl through the jungle.
Beatrice Emsley, Yigo, on her unsuccessful beheading by the Japanese.


Liberation
"People will never know how free they are until they lose that freedom, and we lost that freedom once."
John Garcia about the occupation and liberation of Guam

“When they saw us, they ran over and grabbed us and shook hands and cried and laughed at the same time.
Harold Smith, 77th Army upon stumbling across a jungle concentration camp with thousands of Chamorros

"Oh, we were so happy! I’m telling you, the (people) were happy! They just wanted to run…they were free again! 
Maria Garrido on the release from the concentration camp by US Army and Marine Infantry.

 

 

 

 

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