My name is Edward L.G. Aguon. I am a sole survivor. I was 15 years old when Guam was invaded. Today, I am asked to remember a painful time in my life, a time that I have been trying to forget, twice before have been asked to remember the same painful memories. I hope that today will be the last. In the questionnaire, number six, A and B, and number seven, I wrote about my injuries, forced labor, and the infamous march to Manenggon. I am confident that this honorable Commission will read it with compassion and empathy. I would like to spend the next few minutes to express the deep pain and sorrow that were carved in my mind and in the minds of our people, I’m pretty sure, because of the cruel occupation we were forced to endure.
But how can anyone express all these feelings, Mr. Chairman? An experience of leading to a brutal, atrocious occupation by the enemy force in five minutes.
The most agonizing memories come to mind when I think of the occupation of being forced to watch people brutalized, tortured and killed, to see the look on their face when the final stab of the bayonet pierced their flesh, to hear the cries as their last breath leave their bodies. And even then, the attackers continued to thrust the bayonet into their lifeless bodies.
I recall, as well, the most heartbreaking incident in my life, when we were hustled from our ranch and ordered to march to Manenggon. Tens of miles in hot and rainy days, we were gathered like cattle being led to the slaughter. We could not help anyone who fell behind or fell down. Even if that person was your grandmother, a sick relative or a dying friend, you had to move on and leave them there, lying on the road covered with mud.
I didn’t know what lay ahead, Mr. Chairman. Whether we were going to live or be slaughtered. And what of those who were injured or killed? My cousin, Marikita Perez Howard was killed. God knows how she died. My uncle, Phillipe Aguon Unpingco was brutally tortured and died, as well. Moreover, what about those members in my labor group who were critically injured? Jose Ignacio Flores from the Bisentiko Family, Jesus Cruz from the Papa Family, and a man called Ibong who died from his internal injuries? What about those who lived through the war, Mr. Chairman, but have since passed away, like my friend, Juan Cabrera, who miraculously survived near beheading?
Their stories will never be told, and their testimony will never be heard.
I am 77 years old. If you ask me again in another 10 years, I may not be able to be here to testify.
Real People. Real Stories. A weekly testimonial series provided by the Office of Senator Frank F. Blas, Jr. The testimony of Edward L.G. Aguon is recorded in Guam War Claims Review Commission public hearing held in Hagåtña, Guam on December 8, 2003. This story is sponsored by the community involvement of Guam Premier Outlets (GPO).