Last Friday, the 17th Saipan and Northern Islands Municipal Council hosted an In Memoriam ceremony in remembrance of the thousands of civilian Chamorro and Carolinian lives lost during the Battle of Saipan in 1944. With Governor Arnold I. Palacios, Lt. Governor David M. Apatang and other dignitaries and members of the community in attendance, floral wreaths were laid at the granite edifice at the American Memorial Park, which was erected in 2004, to honor the civilians who perished. Their names are engraved in the granite for all to see and to which all can pay their respects.
In his blessing, Father Isaac Ayuyu prayed for the souls of those who died and asked that the Lord also grants us “their courage in danger, their steadfastness in trial, their perseverance in difficulty, their loyalty when loyalty is costly , their love which nothing can change, their joy which nothing can take away.”
The event’s commemorative speaker, former Governor Juan N. Babauta, emphasized the fact that war comes with casualties, mostly innocent lives. He asserted that this ceremony should remind us of “the paradox of war which bears bravery in times of horror, healing in the times of suffering and survival, and faith in the face of death. From it, there is hope that these pristine waters and white beaches [of our islands] will never again be bloodied and that peace will always prevail.”