The First of July


He was proud to be named Julio, with the “J” pronounced like an “H” in “Hulyo” as in “Jaime” with the aspirated “H” for the “J.” He also did not mind being called a “Julius” though he quickly claimed he was no Csar for Caesar. But he and his girlfriend were on Lino’s San Isidro beach the day after quick fingers took off with my backpack while I was resting after an unplanned turnaround trip to Narita and back, and they were all ears with sympathy.

July begins the second half of the measured year of the Gregorian calendar, based on the Roman Bacchanalian reckoning but supplanted with the veneer of Christian memories expressed in rites and rituals. The swaddling clothes story of the manger had to be told with a wintry backdrop rather than the spring day it was remembered in days of old, only because the story got moved from its Mediterranean setting to the temperate zone of Europe and the British Isles. It fitted better in the weather of December!

Spring remains the first day of the year in some Middle Eastern countries, usually figured on the lunar position in the sky, but with the school schedule in the temperate zone, it is strictly solar as children begin school in the fall. The U.S. federal government starts its fiscal year in October.

It matters not to tropical Saipan. The first of July is just the first of July; Julius and his centurions are better remembered by their attire and the discipline of their formation particularly in battle rather than sporting the plumage on their hoods.

July 2016 is something else. Trump vs. Hillary is hardly a contest in the United States. The sense of Aryan supremacy is echoed among the Trump followers, but that is hardly an issue since the United States is still fighting the war between whites of the deep plantation South with the industrial metropolises in the Union; what was perceived in the 60s as a finalization of the banishment of racial prejudice in the Civil Rights Act of ’64 does not understand Amerika!

“In White America” was an LP I had in the ’60s. It is still White America inspite of Barack Obama though he did cross the color line, and now, Hillary is about to cross the gender line.

It is Julius all over again in Washington, though Obama-Hillary won’t echo the Caesarean triumvirate: veni, vidi, and vici. They might have come, and saw, but they hardly conquered. White Amerika is still in charge as they were when corporate America supplied the Wehrmacht with the chemicals they needed to wipe out the Jews.

The whole of July is usually the summer month, even as teachers prepare for the opening of the Saipan Community School on Aug. 1 with classes starting the 8th. The first of July commences real vacation time.

What significance the month of July has on the nation and one of its territories are dovetailing on the theme of Liberation. Those yurt-looking canopies at the Fisherman’s wharf across from the Kristo Rai Church look like the moveable Mongolian communities.

The Fourth of July will see a parade with floats decorated by the different ethnic groups on island, most notably those of Nippon, Hangkuk, Zhongguoren, Pilipinas, Bangladeshi, Nepali, that used to staff the defunct casino and hotel of the Tinian Dynasty, the Russians at PIC, and the community based efforts of Best Sunshine International in search of brownie points.

Liberation itself sounds like a release from the stranglehold of an invading force to a resident population but it isn’t. It is a commemoration of the release of the locals from the concentration camp at Susupe, along with the captured Japanese, their Korean and Okinawan forces. Liberation was Uncle Sam’s release of everyone from concentration camps as the soldiers who served under Imperial Japan in WWII were repatriated back to their country/place of origin, while the local Chamorros and Carolinian returned to their homes.

The first of July anticipates the patriotism of the fourth and the release of captives (liberation) from concentration camps of those deemed sympathetic to the cause of Imperial Japan in WWII.

I never saw it as a matter of policy for the Japanese government to apologize for envisioning a Co-Prosperity Sphere in Asia, nor Obama apologizing for the use of the A-bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Both are done deal. Fini. Kaput. No one needs to apologize for anything. The emotive requirement is a character of our time rather than a mirror of the historic times being referred to.

The issue is what we do next. There will be those who echo the thinker who opined that “those who do not learn from the lessons of the past are bound to repeat it,” or something to that effect. That is true to a certain degree, as well as, a loaf of baloney. The sun brings a new day, and being present to the moment is what allows people to be humanly creative and innovative so that the day after is given form, not so much on the ground as it is on the mind of those engaged.

We all live for the moment. That’s all we’ve got.

Jaime R. Vergara | Special to the Saipan Tribune
Jaime Vergara previously taught at SVES in the CNMI. A peripatetic pedagogue, he last taught in China but makes Honolulu, Shenyang, and Saipan home. He can be reached at

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