LIBERATION Guam Remembers
A Golden Salute for the 50th anniversary of the Liberation of Guam
Song of hope, song of faith
By JOSEPH SANTO TOMAS
I used to listen to my auntie's stories about the
invasion, occupation, liberation and other things concerning the
Japanese on Guam back then. She told me all about the "Uncle Sam" song
and used to sing different versions of it, all the while a smile upon
Both children and adults learned and sang the song
throughout the occupation period though forbidden by Japanese
authorities. It was a ditty urging the return of the Americans.
One version of the song, not so silly to the Japanese
occupying authorities went like this:
"Eighth of December, 1941
People went crazy
right here in Guam.
Oh, Mr. Sam, Sam
My dear Uncle Sam,
won't you please
come back to Guam."
Other versions included a stanza telling the
Americans to "Hurry up and come back with Camels and Chesterfields,
because we're tired of smoking the (Japanese cigarettes)."
She said that "Pete Rosario and his gangs" invented
the song, and that printed versions of it nowadays aren't always the
same as the ones she knew. Additional verses, as written in the
Carano-Sanchez "History of Guam" follow:
Early Monday morning
The action came to Guam,
Eighth of December,
Oh, Mr. Sam, my dear Uncle Sam,
Won't you please come back to Guam?
Our lives are in danger
You better come
And kill all the Japanese
Right here on Guam.
The flag of the Rising Sun sways in the
wind above the Marine Barracks in Sumay. Though reminded every day of
the Japanese presence in Guam, Chamorros never lost hope that America
would return to liberate the island.
Part of the ditty's popularity was that one could
make up anything about the Japanese, and no matter how silly, it would
still be appropriate.
The song got so popular, she said, that even humming
the tune around the Japanese infuriated them, and they would "binta"
(slap) you or dole out some other kind of punishment.
Rosario and his friends sang a little concert to some
of the first Marines on island in the area of the Agana cemetery, and
after that, it became a hit with the liberators.
It wasn't the only song in the psychological fight
with the Japanese occupying authorities. One other song, or saying by
the Chamorros that made a mockery of the Japanese propaganda effort was
about the flag which depicts a sun on a white field.
Chamorros took advantage of the language barrier for
a song that they were taught about Japan's flag, the one with the red
ball as the sun.
But instead of using the given lyrics, which used the
word "apaka" which means white in Chamorro, Chamorros hid a devious
smile and sang instead the word, "aplacha," which means dirty in
Chamorro. Apparently no one ever caught on.
My auntie insisted that she remain anonymous, but our
thanks still go out to her for sharing her enjoyment of that old, that
silly, but oh, so precious song.
It may be old and may be silly, but even now the song
sings loud of the Chamorro faith in those times, of the hope that kept
people's spirits high in a time of despair.
Thank you Uncle Sam.
10 January 1942
In Guam, American military and civilian personnel, Navy nurses, as
well as American and Spanish priests are forced to march to Piti and
board the ship Argentina Maru. Their destination: Prisoner-of-war camps