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Last updateThu, 18 Jul 2019 12am

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    Wednesday, July 17, 2019-12:24:55A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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‘It is our sacred duty to honor and remember our heroes’

GOVERNOR Ralph DLG Torres on Saturday led the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of World War II Battles of Saipan and Tinian at American Memorial Park.

“It has been called the most important strategic victory in the war in the Pacific,” the governor said, referring to the American invasion of the islands.

He said “it is our sacred duty to honor and remember our heroes who gave their lives to defend our country and our freedom.”

Torres said the NMI was forever changed by the war. His own father “grew up without his dad, who died in the war. The sacrifices involved in raising two kids was left to his mother — he was only five years old.”

In her remarks, National Parks Superintendent Barbara Alberti said: “I have been reflecting on the impacts of the battles on all of the people who were touched by them. I watched and listened to the stories of the residents. It changed their lives forever.”

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, Saipan Mayor David Apatang, John Hirsh of the American Red Cross-NMI chapter, Saipan Chamber of Commerce president Velma Palacios, CNMI Veterans Affairs Office Executive Director Stanley Iakopo and military personnel led by Rear Adm. Shoshana Chatfield at the Court of Honor.Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, Saipan Mayor David Apatang, John Hirsh of the American Red Cross-NMI chapter, Saipan Chamber of Commerce president Velma Palacios, CNMI Veterans Affairs Office Executive Director Stanley Iakopo and military personnel led by Rear Adm. Shoshana Chatfield at the Court of Honor.

For the past week, American Memorial Park hosted the screening of “We Drank Our Tears,” and “East L.A. Marine: The Untold Story of Guy Gabaldon.”

Alberti said American Memorial Park preserves the stories of 5,204 U.S. servicemembers, 929 Chamorro and Carolinian civilians who died on the island.

“I realized that telling the stories of how those 35,000 people ended up dying [here] 75 years ago is so important for young people to understand where they came from as they make decisions on where they are going as adults. It is such an honor for American Memorial Park to help keep these stories alive for future generations,” Alberti said.

For his part, retired business executive Dave M. Sablan Sr. recounted his experiences as a young boy during the war.

The commemoration ended with a wreath-laying ceremony led by the governor, lawmakers, other officials and military personnel.