Seventy-five years ago, American forces landed on Guam to liberate the United States territory that Japan had seized following the attack on Pearl Harbor. Today, as we celebrate the liberation of Guam, we also remember the more than 1,200 Marines, Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen who laid down their lives there so that future generations in Guam would know the blessings of freedom. We also pay our respects to the more than 1,000 Guam residents who lost their lives in the invasion and during the Japanese occupation that followed.
Lasting nearly three weeks, the Second Battle of Guam was paramount to the success of Operation Forager, in which the United States Armed Forces gained a foothold in the Pacific campaign of World War II. After our forces emerged victorious, the United States Navy constructed airfields to accommodate the United States Army Air Forces. These facilities would prove to be instrumental to the success of aerial attacks throughout the Pacific theater and our defeat of the forces of Imperial Japan.
Today, Guam continues to be an important strategic hub in the Western Pacific, as well as an economic and cultural asset of the United States. As we commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Guam, Melania joins me in recognizing all of our country’s service members and their families for their sacrifice in defending our cherished liberties.