At Guam’s War in the Pacific National Historical Park, vandals and thieves have desecrated memorials erected to honor the more than 16,000 Chamorros (Marianas natives) and American servicemen (mostly Marines) who suffered and died on Guam during World War II.
Some of the perps have been caught. Last year, Joseph Elibosang entered the park, pried 34 large brass panels off the Memorial Wall at the Asan Bay Overlook, and sold them to a scrap yard for $1,584. Elibosang’s subsequent arrest and conviction earned him a 21-month sentence in local and federal prisons. Fortunately, a federal grant will finance replacement of the missing panels later this year, at the same time offering the opportunity to add about 1,600 new and edited names gleaned from the records and memories of local citizens.
More recently, someone vandalized waysides, plaques, and parts of the Asan Bay Overlook memorial. A plaque honoring the first Chamorros who died in military service during World War II was defaced with graffiti. Marble-carved names of the honored dead were painted over. A twenty-year old man has been arrested and charged with the crime. No estimate of repair costs is yet available.
Why anybody would desecrate memorials erected to people who defended our freedom and way of life is something I simply cannot comprehend. Mr. Elibosang, what were you thinking?! Outrage is not a strong enough word, and 21 months is not enough jail time.