Below is the message from John Benavente – this year’s International Relay Peace Marcher from Guam. He walked in Aichi Prefecture from June 6-12, 2017.
I am a WWII survivor; I was seven years old when the American recaptured Guam in July 21, 1944. As a young boy I witnessed the misery of war as a noncombatant caught in the middle of battle between two very powerful Armies. We are victims of a world struggle and the noncombatants are the least prepared for the challenge of surviving under the most difficult time in our history. The experience and trauma of war has a lasting effect that has no end and is committed to long term memory that will remain with you for a life time.
I am an advocate of self-determination and indigenous rights. I was a member of original CHmoru nation movement that were protesting for self-determination for indigenous, CHmoru of Guam.
I was in Hiroshima last year for August 6th Memorial services and spent three days visiting the memorial site. My visit to Hiroshima was very painful for it brought back memories of WWII, and learning that over six thousand school children, mostly 12 and 13 years old were in the city, working in demolishing buildings in order to create fire break and were caught in the open when the bomb exploded at 8:15 AM, 6th August 1945.
John (Juan) C Benavente