The traditional hour-long In Memoriam celebratory ceremony, hosted by the Saipan & Northern Islands Municipal Council for the past two years to honor and memorialize civilian casualties and victims of World War II on Saipan and the Northern Islands, welcomes the participation of various local agencies and the mayors of Saipan and the Northern Islands in this year’s planning committee.
Chair Antonia M. Tudela is elated in welcoming this year’s community support network and thanked the members and all interested individuals and organizations to join this year’s community event planning activities.
The Marianas Memorial at the American Memorial Park is dedicated in memory of Chamorros and Carolinians of the Northern Marianas who died during World War II.
The In Memorian event memorializes those “caught in a war not of their making, the people of Northern Marianas, like many civilians throughout the Pacific, became victims of war that was forced upon them. The Marianas Memorial remembrance blessing honors Chamorros and Carolinians who lost their lives as a result of this war, beginning with the aerial bombardment on June 11, 1944 on Saipan to the closure of the civilian Camp Susupe on July 4, 1946.”
Doris Drew of the Women’s Affairs Office will take part in the event and will be joined by representatives of the office of Carolinian Affairs and Indigenous Affairs, the Office of Veterans Affairs, and Matt Chargualaf, a member of a local veterans group.
The council this year also reached out to Marianas Variety and Saipan Tribune, two local newpapers, to join this year’s planning group.
On May 5, 2016, the planning committee met at the American Memorial Park conference room to kick off the planning for the October event at the park.
Joan Aquino represented Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang, while Northern Islands Mayor Jerome Aldan was present for the planning meeting.
Del Kaipat represented the Carolinian Affairs and the full membership of the local council.
The discussion centered on the roles and responsibilities of the respective participating agencies, including the local council with the program to be further discussed on the June meeting.
Last year, the ceremony kicked off with the traditional cultural rites, “Ma guaifi I kulu lali and hukun I taotao-ta.” The chant was performed by Luis John Castro, while John Oliver Gonzales was master of ceremony and introduced Frankie Eliptico to perform last year’s In Memorian.
Candlelight vigil and silent meditation were performed by the Christian Mothers of Saipan, followed by the wreath laying led by council secretary Reina Camacho who was assisted by John Tagabuel and the mayors, and the blessing of the monument that concluded the event rendered by Father Sid Ogumoro.
Mensahin Agradesinmentu was performed Frances M. Sablan, while the invocation was performed by Father Ogumoro and benediction by Pastor John Manglona.
The soothing melodic musical chorale, led by Marianas High School’s Ruthi Fruit, underscored the solemnity of the occasion in its rendition of the U.S. and CNMI national anthems and other special musical selections, accented by the Saipan Southern High School JROTC posting and retiring of the colors.
This year’s In Memorian pre-celebration will kick off earlier than the usual time in July on live talk show.
Apatang and Aldan will join the council members and followed by the other members of the planning committee, including prominent members of the community who have experienced and have vivid memories of the pacific war on Saipan.
Speaker forums involving invited scholars is also part of the educational outreach activity this year. Film at the park on the Pacific War on Saipan will add to the community education effort, including essay contest by students.
The planning committee welcomes ideas and other contributions from the community to help make this year’s event successful and memorable, said Tudela.