31 May Remembering Our History: War in the Pacific National Historic Park
Håfa Adai! My name is Chloe Calvo, and I am the 2022 Fish and Feathers intern for the War in the Pacific National Historic Park, Guam. I am currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology with a minor in Biology at the University of Guam. Growing up on the island, I have always been fascinated by Pacific cultures in the contexts of their environments. For example, my Chamorro culture would feel incomplete without talaya fishing, coconut husking, weaving, and octopus hunting. While cultures are dynamic — changing over time with increased exposure to other groups and experiences — the preservation of their environments is vital for survival. This summer I am excited to help educate future generations about the importance of conservation, and hopefully inspire new minds to make strides towards the protection of our environment.
Over the weekend, I assisted park rangers and volunteers in putting up flags for the park’s biggest event of the year: Memorial Day. Each year, 3,050 flags are erected to commemorate the lives lost on the island during WWII. The community showed up by the hundreds to pay their respects and remember family and friends who died in the war.
While I was not alive during the war or the liberation, I grew up hearing stories about the bravery of the Chamorros who lived through the tragedy. My great grandma would often reminisce about the times when her and her brothers would sneak past Japanese guards to steal food for their family. My other grandma would tell me about the kind marines who liberated them at the end of the occupation. The Memorial Day flags are a reminder for the people of Guam to remember our not-so-distant history, and to look back with thanks for those who sacrificed themselves for our survival.
Today, the park is used for fishing, hiking, biking, and other recreational activities. One of my favorite past times at the park is flying kites! The large, open field and cool ocean breezes make for a perfect kite-flying landscape. In the evenings, our visitors enjoy vibrant sunsets that fill the skies above the park.