Wednesday, July 13, 2011
George Tweed, the Navy radioman who hid from the Japanese rather than surrender, was sheltered by many individuals at the beginning. Due to the dangers of staying long in one place, with slips in security here and there, Tweed moved on quickly to the next refuge. But Tweed's last and longest host, from October 1942 until his rescue in July 1944, was Antonio Cruz Artero and his wife, Josefa Torres Artero. Josefa was the younger sister of my grandmother Maria Torres Limtiaco.
The photo above was taken in February 1946. From the shoes and the clothing, one can see that the comforts of life had not all returned after the war as yet. The island, in fact, was still under Navy control at the time of this photo; a heavily militarized island where even statesiders needed Navy clearance before they could come to Guam.
Asked why he agreed to hide Tweed, Uncle Ton responded with words along these lines, "It was my obligation as a Christian. I was hungry, and you fed me." He risked certain death had he been caught by the Japanese. Imagine weighing that risk with the possibility that the Americans would never come back. That was the hope, but how could one know for sure? It was a heroic decision indeed. Other Chamorros did the same, and did in fact suffer beatings and torture because they assisted Tweed.
That's Uncle Ton and Auntie Epa in the middle of the photo with 8 of their eventual 12 children, and Tweed on the far left. That is my great-grandmother on the far right; the only photo we have of her. My great-grandmother, Maria Perez Torres, was born in 1874 and died in 1949.