Municipal council hosts 4th memorial service

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Led by the Saipan and Northern Islands Municipal Council, hundreds attended a service yesterday at the American Memorial Park to honor the indigenous Chamorros and Carolinians who perished during World War II.

According to council chair Luis John “L.J.” Castro, the ceremony is unique to the relatives of the Chamorros and Carolinians who died during the war. “It was all about gathering everybody together,” he said.

The municipal council has been holding the memorial service for four years now.

The ceremony was first started in Guam and was introduced to the Marianas by the 12th municipal council four years ago.

The difference between the ceremonies held in Guam and the one held on Saipan is that the Guam ceremony is held to coincide with that island’s Liberation Day festivities; the ceremony on Saipan coincides with All Souls’ Day.

According to Castro, they purposely hold the ceremony to coincide with All Souls’ Day because of the practice of the indigenous people to honor those who passed before them.

“We are a people that, no matter what, we have to honor the people who come before us,” he said.

According to him, over 930 individuals were honored yesterday, not including those whose names were lost in the war.

This year, the program included parts that were never done before like the recitation of the names of each individual who were honored.

Castro said that he is grateful to both the community and the government agencies that supported the tribute like the Governor’s Office, Women’s Affairs Office, the Indigenous and Carolinian Affairs offices, and the Veterans Affairs Office.

According to Castro, the ceremony was very emotional. “It was beautiful, having all the leaders of every walk of the government, people who survived the war, and people who grew up hearing stories of the wars there,” he said.

Castro said the event has only grown bigger since it was first started by the 12th municipal council. “People are becoming more aware…they’re catching on,” said Castro. “We hope that every year, it grows to be of importance to the community.”

Kimberly B. Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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