Guam is traditionally a strong supporter of the US military. The beginning of our support goes back to WWII. We were occupied by the Japanese for 3½ years during WWII. We suffered mightily during that time. We were liberated by the US Third Marine Division. Today the Japanese are our number one tourists.

The liberation left Guam citizens feeling that it is their duty to support the US military. During the wars in Vietnam. Korea and the Gulf, Guam soldiers suffered more casualties in proportion to their population than those of any US state.  Right now, we have hundreds of Guam soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Horn of Africa and even down in Guantanamo Bay. The morale among soldiers from Guam is very good.

At dinner, we sit with soldiers from our state. The Guam soldiers miss home. I take down their parents or girlfriends or wives names and telephone numbers. Of course, they talk with their families if not daily at least 3 times a week with their personal cell phones. Still, when I get back to my district, I call all of them to say that I have seen their soldier and tell them how he or she is doing. They appreciate the effort to make a personal call. I pass out phone cards for our soldiers, our island cookies and CDs of our home music.

The photo shows two Guam soldiers. The sign "Hafa Adai" means greetings in our language.

(more below the photos).

I was born in Minnesota...

I came from a middle class family in a small Minnesota town called Graceville. I went back to visit my birthplace recently. Such a tiny town. The population is 671.

My father was superintendent of schools.  We moved to Guam after my father accepted a position as Assistant Director of Education. Dad was not as enthusiastic as my mother about moving to Guam. His roots were in Minnesota. But, mother thought that was a great opportunity and off we went.

My dad accepted the position in Guam. We prepared to leave this very small, stable and conservative My dad went to Guam by military plane. Mother and we three small children went by navy transport. This was a very daring thing to do at that time. It took 17 days by boat from the west coast.

Of course, this move completely changed my life.