Pandemic has LibDay celebrants wishing for normal times

Posted on Jul 06 2021

Members of the community take part in Sunday morning’s Liberation Day motorcade, sporting various July 4-themed decorations on their vehicles. (JOSHUA SANTOS)

While the community-organized motorcade in the morning and the fireworks show at night made for an enjoyable Liberation Day celebration this year, the need to downscale festivities due to the COVID-19 pandemic limited certain aspects that would have been a part of Saipan’s Liberation Day festivities pre-pandemic.

In an interview prior to the motorcade on Sunday, Joe W. McDoulett, commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3457, said he missed interacting with the many who would have come out and watched a Liberation Day parade.

“The pandemic has made it so different for everything. …You can’t connect with the people the same way, but at least [Sunday’s motorcade and fireworks] were something to show that we’re happy to be a part of the Commonwealth, and we’re happy to be a part of the United States,” said McDoulett. This year was McDoulett’s eighth celebration of the Fourth of July on Saipan.

Also in an interview before Sunday morning’s motorcade, special assistant for military affairs Glenna Sakisat Palacios saw the importance of keeping celebrations alive on the Fourth for both the community and for the sake of honoring those who liberated the CNMI during the events of World War II.

“We know this is the second year that Liberation Day activities have been [limited or] postponed because of the pandemic, but [Liberation Day] is really a time that our community looks forward to every single year. …We just wanted to [hold a motorcade] in honor for those that liberated our islands and members of our community, and to also acknowledge and appreciate our veterans and members of our armed forces that are serving today,” said Palacios.

Liberation Day celebrations last year were fully virtual in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, a government-sponsored Liberation Day parade was cancelled to maintain safety during the pandemic, but the Saipan Mayor’s Office was able to host a 15-20 minute fireworks display on Sunday night at the Garapan Fishing Base.

On Sunday morning, through a massive group effort from Saipan’s military organizations, car clubs, and the community, a more than 100-vehicle motorcade was made possible on July 4 this year.

Joshua Santos | Reporter
Joshua Santos is a Mount Carmel School AlumKnight and University of Florida Gator Grad with a passion for writing. He is one of Saipan Tribune’s newest reporters. Josh enjoys golf, chess, and playing video games with friends in his spare time. Reach out to him @rarebasedjosh on all socials.
Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.