INTRODUCTORY COMMENTS ON THE FLOOR OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES BY REP. RICHARD WHITE (Texas) ON JANUARY 18, 19967
NOTE: These comments by Representative White are important in that the 1978 House of Representatives bill that was enacted creating WAPA was also introduced by Representative White.
Mr. WHITE: Mr. Speaker, the island of Guam has particular significance to those of us who served in the Pacific Theater during World War II.
Guam, the first U.S. territory occupied by the Japanese in World War II, also was the scene of a major turning point in the war during July and August of 1944, when the U.S. forces recaptured the island in a bloody battle.
The island is closely tied also in geography and in strategy to other significant battle sites in the Pacific Tarawa, Guadalcanal, Saipan, the Battle of the Philippine Sea and Peleiu, as well as others.
The significance of Guam and of the entire war in the Pacific is great in our American history and pertinent sections of Guam merit careful historical development and preservation. Today there is no fitting commemoration of the sacrifices and the bravery displayed by the participants in the Pacific Theater and the Guamanian citizens. I believe it important that we wait no longer to provide significant commemoration and historical preservation of this kind.
I, therefore, am introducing today a bill to establish a national historic park on the island of Guam. As stated in the legislation the purpose is to "commemorate the bravery and sacrifices of those participating in the campaigns of the Pacific Theater in World War II, including the Guam campaign, and to interpret this significant period in the history of our Nation."
The park would include, but not be limited to, that site of the major American return to the island on July 21, 1944, on Asan Beachhead, and also include the mountain and plateau areas surrounding the beachhead, which comprise the major battlefield.
The Secretary of the Interior would be authorized to landscape, erect markers, construct a museum and other appropriate buildings, provide exhibits and interpretative material.
My legislation assures that development would be coordinated closely with the monument to the American war dead planned by the American Battle Monuments Commission.
Interpretation would deal with all aspects of the conflict, relating the significance of Guam to the war and the significance of the war to American history. This is information that Americans and all citizens of the world must not forget.
It is my hope that this legislation will receive your early attention and approval.
Last Updated: 08-May-2005