With the inauguration of the 111th Congress into office, Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo has reintroduced legislation to compensate islanders for suffering during the Japanese occupation in World War II. The act is called Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act.
During World War II, Guam, a United States Territory, was overtaken by the Japanese. Not widely known are the acts of forced labor and torture that were imposed on the native Chamorro islanders. Some lost their lives because of their loyalty to the United States. Others died in concentration camps from starvation and brutality forced upon them from their captors.
On both sides of my family, I have stories that have been passed down of those terrible times that are just a blip in the history books. This remains one of the great untold stories of Americans that still need to be told for all to hear, to take pride in and to honor as part of our combined national heritage.
This act includes compensation totaling as much as 130 million dollars. These dollars pale against the recognition such an act will bring to heroes who deserve it. We spend more dollars managing our enemies. Haggling over these dollars associated with this act will frankly be an insult when you think of the sacrifices made by these people that no pricetag will ever be able to fairly compensate them truly for what they gave for this country.
In the last Congress, the act passed the in the House of Representatives but it did not pass the Senate. With a new Administration and a new Congress, there is hope that after years and years of trying such an act will finally pass. The people of Guam have been lobbying but they are few in number. I, ask you, as fellow Americans, to use your influence with your representatives and Senators in Congress to assist us in this worthy cause.
If you need more information, you can contact the Congressional Office of the Honorable Madeleine Bordallo.
Washington, D.C. Office
427 Cannon HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515-5301
One of the poignant moments, when the Americans retook the island of Guam from the Japanese, was to see the Chamorro islanders, weak from malnutrition and the ravages of war, pull out American flags that they had hidden away and waved those flags at the soldiers. It is for their unwavering patriotism that we seek this act’s passage.