HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Nov. 11) - Yesterday, Senators Robert Klitzkie and Carmen Fernandez introduced a bill that would rededicate Marine Drive to Marine Corps Drive, so there would be no confusion about the heritage of the name of Guam's main thoroughfare.

"The meaning behind designating this road 'Marine Drive' has been lost through the generations," said Klitzkie, R-Yigo. "Many visitors and residents think that the highway was named 'Marine Drive' because of its proximity to the ocean."

The road was named for the brave Marines, both living and dead, who spearheaded the battle to liberate Guam from occupation by the Japanese in World War II. During the liberation of Guam, 1,200 Marines from the First Provisional Marine Brigade and the Third Marine Division were killed, with another 6,000 wounded in combat.

Appropriately, if the bill is passed into law, the name "Marine Corps Drive" will go into effect July 21 of next year, which will be the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Guam. Many of our island's liberators will be making what may be their final visit to the island. It is fitting that Klitzkie, a Marine himself, and Fernandez chose that day to let them know that we will never forget their courage and sacrifice.

The senators picked the perfect day to introduce the legislation as well -- Nov. 10 was the 228th anniversary of the Marine Corps, as well as the day before Veterans Day, which is when we honor the brave men and women who served their country in the U.S. Armed Forces. This is a tangible tribute to all those who have donned the uniform of the Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Guard and the reserve branches.

Retired Marine Corps Gen. Ben Blaz fittingly called Marine Corps Drive a "living memorial" and "a reminder to future generations how dearly we paid for the freedom we enjoy." This very simple renaming will mean a lot -- not just to the Marines, but to everyone on Guam for generations to come.

We urge senators to pass this bill during the upcoming session, and Gov. Felix Camacho to sign the bill into law.

November 11, 2003

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