- Associated Press - Saturday, August 15, 2015

HAGATNA, Guam (AP) - Ana San Nicolas Ungacta, 83, lost a part of her heart 71 years ago when Japanese soldiers in what is known as the Chagui’an Massacre killed her brother and 44 other young Chamorro men.

Ungacta was one of several relatives of the 45 men who were killed in Chagui’an who attended a memorial service and Mass Saturday at the site in Yigo. Several island dignitaries and military officials also attended the event, reported the Pacific Daily News.

On Aug. 8, 1944, Marine patrols from the 21st Regiment discovered 45 bodies of Chamorro men in Chagui’an. They had been beheaded and had their hands tied behind their backs.

A white cross symbolizes the 45 men who were found at the site, while signs list their names and a short story about the site in English, Chamorro and Japanese.

Ungacta’s brother, David Sablan San Nicolas, who was about 20 at the time, was taken from the Manengon concentration camp in Yona and was told he would carry ammunition for the Japanese soldiers, Ungacta said. That was the last time she saw her brother alive.

The next time she saw her brother would be in a photo taken by the military members who found the bodies at the Yigo site, showing his and other men’s bodies decapitated.

“My heart, it’s like somebody put a hole in it. That’s my brother, that’s my blood,” she said, tears in her eyes, the moment she saw the photo.

For Maria Acfalle, from Yona, she came to honor her uncles, Ramon Baza Quitaro and Jose Quichocho Pangelinan, who were both killed in Chagui’an. Quitaro was her mother’s brother while Pangelinan was her dad’s brother, she said.

Acfalle was too young to remember her uncles.

“It’s kinda sad not knowing my uncles,” she said.

Her mom’s mother told her about the son that was taken by the Japanese and never to be seen again, but her dad’s mother didn’t really talk about it, she said.

With wreaths of flowers for both uncles, she and her family would place them on the cross memorializing the men.

Monsignor David Quitugua, a war survivor, presided over the Mass for the men.

“All of us who have experience with war will never forget the two-and-a-half years under the occupation of the enemy,” he said.

He said war was a horrible experience not just for the Chamorros, but also for the Japanese and Americans who died fighting over the island. He also pointed out that Japan recently celebrated the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima.

“We are not alone in our grieving and mourning,” he said.

Quitugua said it was important to remember the costs of war and to strive for peace.

After the Mass, a memorial service was held for the men.

Yigo Mayor Rudy Matanane told the audience that although the event is tragic it was important that it is remembered and honored.

“Sometimes it’s sad, sometimes it’s horrible, but in the end it is peace that holds us together,” he said.

Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio said as the island remembers the past it must also look to the future and ensure that peace remains.

Sen. Frank Blas Jr. asked the audience to never forget the men who died in Chagui’an.

Island dignitaries placed wreaths in honor of the fallen men and made a silent prayer. Afterward members of the audience were given flowers to place in front of the sign that displays all 45 names of the men who died in Chagui’an.

“Please keep all these people in your prayers,” Matanane said.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide