By Mark-Alexander Pieper

HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Sept. 8) - The Kosraean community on Guam celebrated its freedom yesterday with games, food and singing.

At the Mangilao baseball field, the Kosraean Association of Guam celebrated the 59th anniversary of the island's liberation from Japanese occupation during World War II.

Kosrae was liberated on Sept. 8 -- the day Japanese troops had planned to kill all the Kosraean people, said Kosraean Association committee chairman Likiaksa Timothy, who recounted the story of the island's liberation to the dozens of people in attendance.

The day is celebrated on the Saturday that falls closest to Sept. 8, said KAG President Ezra Nena.

Timothy, 36, said the Japanese were planning to kill the Kosraean people before the Americans came. But one of the Japanese leaders had established a bond with the Kosraean people and tried to prevent the killing.

"The (Japanese leader) was eventually able to contact a few ships that were passing by, probably heading to another island. What happened then is the same day the Japanese were planning on getting rid of everyone, the Americans landed on the island at dawn. ... And that was the day our people were liberated."

Nena, 25, said there are about 300 Kosraeans on Guam. Many of them did not let the damp weather bring down yesterday's celebration, which included games and sporting events for the children, singing and dancing and a lot of laughter.

Nikeme Kelab, who performed a few traditional Kosraean and Hawaiian dance numbers with her group, said Liberation Day is always a good time for the community to come together.

"This is always good because it's a chance to show we enjoy our freedom and celebrate it," said the 34-year-old.

September 8, 2003

Pacific Daily News: www.guampdn.com 


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