Jul 11, 2008
Fourth of July--Island Style
Sailors from a U.S. Navy ship in port and the high school ROTC team.
Video clip of the Saipan Liberation Day Parade, Friday, July 4, 2008
For the first time since 1999 Babs and I were here on Saipan for Independence Day. Last time we were housesitting for some friends who owned a beautiful home perched on the slopes of Mt. Tapochau. We spent the whole day up there getting ready to host a big Fourth of July party that evening.
This year though we decided to go out to the Liberation Day parade. Here in Saipan, Liberation Day coincides with Independence Day and commemorates the "liberation" of Saipan by American soldiers during World War II. (I would argue that it wasn't a true "liberation" as the Japanese did not forcibly take over Saipan as they did Guam. It was more of the Americans forcibly taking Saipan from the Japanese with the local people kind of caught in the middle. . but I digress). Liberation Day is a big deal here in the CNMI. We have a carnvival that runs for about a month prior to July 4 and we even have a Liberation Day Queen. The climax is July 4 and one of the key events is the Liberation Day parade.
We'd been told it would be hot and crowded, and it was. But it was also fun to be sharing in this tradition with our little community.
The cultural diversity of Saipan--Filipinos, Chinese, Koreans, U.S. Mainlanders, Indians and of course the Chamorro and Carolinians-- was on display,not just in the parade. . . .
. . . but in the parade watchers lining the road as well. We all sat together, broiling in the Marianas sun with our umbrellas and lawn chairs and ice chests, enjoying the spectacle and celebrating together.
Babs and I didn't stay for the whole parade--the heat finally got to us--but we stayed long enough to see our very own SDA Church Pathfinder club strut their stuff. . .
They looked sharp with snappy moves that they sure didn't have back when I was in Pathfinders!
I imagine next summer we'll be back to our regular sojourns to the Mainland so I don't know if we'll celebrate another Fourth of July in Saipan, but I'm glad it we got to do it this year.
A short video of the Indian Association at the Saipan Liberation Day Parade