Marianas Variety

Last updateThu, 24 Oct 2019 12am







    Wednesday, October 23, 2019-1:57:58A.M.






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WWII veteran to join Liberation Day celebration

BURKE Waldron, a World War II veteran who will be 95 in May, will participate in the island’s annual Liberation Day celebration.

Waldron served in the Naval Ground Force of the Pacific and was part of the invasions of Makin islands in Kiribati and Saipan. He retired in 1946 as a petty officer, 2nd class.

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World War II veteran Burke Waldron.  GoFundMe photos

On his GoFundMe page, Waldron said his unit’s job on Saipan “was to handle visual communications from the Island Commander to ships standing by for instructions for the troops’ needs of various supports such as personnel, armament, fuel, equipment etc.”

He said they “used flashing light (Morse code) and semaphore method to transmit encoded messages. At first we had temporary facilities but soon the Navy Seabees rebuilt the light house…for our base of operation. We served in this capacity till the end of 1945 when I was shipped stateside and honorably discharged.”

He added, “Over the years I have said to myself ‘it would be a great experience to return to Saipan and maybe meet some of the survivors or their descendants.’ By means of this GoFundMe Campaign I may be able to do just that for otherwise it would not be possible…. I would be most grateful for your help to reach the goal of my new campaign for my trip back to Saipan after 74 years.”

Liberation Day Planning Committee vice chairman Shayne Villanueva said Waldron has “raised enough money to come to Saipan and we will definitely be celebrating his presence along with other veterans.”

This year also marks the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Saipan which was fought from June 15 to July 9, 1944.

McDonald’s donation

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The Liberation Day Planning Committee receives a donation of $6,000 from McDonald’s. In photo are committee members Maria Valentina Haberman, Shayne Villanueva,  Saipan Mayor David Apatang, Lee Tenorio and Henry Hofschneider with McDonald’s owner/operator Marcia Ayuyu, McDonald’s Saipan and Guam supervisor Joe Ayuyu Jr. and McDonald’s staff.  Photo by Lori Lyn C. Lirio

The Liberation Day Planning Committee on Tuesday received a $6,000 donation from McDonald’s for this year’s Liberation Day celebration which will be held from June 27 to July 6.

Villanueva thanked McDonald’s for its generous contribution. “We always appreciate their support. We try to acquire support from everybody so we can provide the best community event that we can have.”

Villanueva said they hope to “have a very organized parade and a good fireworks show.”

The festivities will be more family-centered and will include more games and entertainment, he added.

Joe Ayuyu Jr., McDonald’s store supervisor on Saipan and Guam and chairman of the Liberation Day Planning Committee, said the donation was their way of giving back to the community.

“My parents always remind me that it is the community that makes us successful,” he added.

He said their donations to community organizations and events are consistent with McDonald’s slogan: “Create feel-good moments for our customers every time.”

“We look forward to providing more support and donations to this community because we are a part of the community,” Ayuyu added.