On July 10, 1944, the Japanese ordered the Chamorros living in central and northern Guam to move to Mañenggon, an isolated river valley just south of Yoña. Not all the Chamorros ended up in Mañenggon. Those in the southern villages went elsewhere, and some from the central and northern parts also went their own way. But Mañenggon probably had the largest concentration of people, living in quickly assembled shelters. They really suffered; some died on the march down to Mañenggon. Many were beaten. There was a shortage of food and water. There was talk that the Japanese would kill them all, but it never happened, and the fact that the people were in a valley far from the worst battle scenes meant that their lives were spared.
Every July, the Mañenggon Memorial Foundation organizes a memorial service at the camp site. This year it was held on Saturday, July 9. Two people, including one who was old enough to remember her experiences at Mañenggon, shared their stories before the crowd of around 200 people. There was Mass with the Archbishop and then the laying of wreaths by the Consul General of Japan and others.
But before the Mass, the survivors of Mañenggon lit torches (achon) made of bamboo (piao) in honor of those who were here sixty-seven years ago. The På'a Taotao Tåno' singers were on hand.
One day all those who were alive during the war will be gone. We have collected many stories; more need to be collected and more of it in video format. Our children should learn about their forebears, their endurance and their faith. Yanggen ti ta tungo' ginen manu hit, mappot para ta tungo' para månu hit guato.