Jose Quinene CruzI come here really with a bit of a hesitation. I cannot measure to the atrocities that have been reported or that have been experienced. However, I come on behalf of the spirit of my grandmother, Librada Cruz Quinene, my mother and my father, Anna Quinene Cruz and Jose Reyes Cruz. If I have time, I will probably tell you about my own father-in-law and mother-in-law who refused, or hesitate really, to talk about the war. But, I have experienced them experiencing the nightmare.

My name is Dr. Jose Quinene Cruz. I hail from Malesso', but I'm now living in Barrigada Heights. I am married to Teofila Sholing Perez and I have four children. I come as a child, or actually, the recollection of a child. The only recollection that I have because my mother and my father and my grandmother refused to talk about the war years, they really, truly believed that God will forgive and that God will bring justice.

That, I thought, was very interesting. But I was always bothered that they befriended the Japanese when they later came to their home. I was the one who was experiencing the injustice because I saw that there really was, as part of my own upbringing and my own thinking. But, my mother and my father would always say, "Shut up. Do not say anything. It is done."

My only recollection from my grandmother and my father and my mother was one morning, when I was playing out in the rain, it was raining real hard and I told my mother, "I wish God would stop this rain." She told me, "Son, if the rain didn't stop, you would not be born." That's the only time when she spoke about the war. With further query, I said, "Mom, why, what happened?" She said, "I was in a firing squad with Nana," my grandmother, "and your father and two other siblings. We were there because when the taicho came," because my grandmother was the one who was massaging the taicho.

Well, the taicho came and Nana was not there, they burned their house because they were out in the ranch. They burned their house. When they came back, they found out that their house was burned. Then, they were actually corralled to go to the river right next to where the Malesso' Church is. They were lined up to be killed.

It rained and it rained and it rained. Because of the meticulousness of the Japanese, they actually did not kill them. My mom said we just slowly slipped out because they were enjoying themselves probably thinking that they'll kill them. So, that is my major recollection.

The other recollection that I have is really living in Malesso' and going and pasturing my cows right near where Faha is. You probably saw that. But, I always wondered how come there was a cross. When I asked, my father would say, "It's finished." You know? Let bygones be gone.

I further was an emcee for some of the celebrations in the Tinta and the Faha celebrations on July 15 and 16 in Maleso. To this day, I remember that the greatest feeling that I have was we were honoring the Americans for liberating us. It was never instilled in me that we were actually honoring the bravery of the people of Guam who were killed.

I had an uncle who was killed, my father's oldest brother. The memory that my father told me was only that he was a handsome dude. He was a handsome man. That was not the word of my father, that's my modern word. That he was really a very industrious person. I wanted to ask my dad, "Tell me some more." I could not meet him. My father again said, "He is dead. Let him rest." I was deprived of my uncle.

I come here because I think the deprivation that I feel is really the deprivation of some of our loved ones. My uncle would've probably gotten me really, really advancing with a confidence that he actually had to the family. He was killed because of his stature. He was killed because he was a tall man, he was a big man. I'm a big person and my father's smaller than I am. I always told him, "Gee, if I only known Uncle Kin, I probably would actually measure up to him."

My other recollection is that I always saw my uncle Kin's children, who were without father and mother when I was growing up. No one ever told us really what happened. They continue to actually, my cousin, Jose, continue to be there representing his father. But, as a child, I actually then asked how come they don't have any mother and father. Again, my parents say, "Well, they were killed in the Japanese time and that's all that we know." Any recollection, or memory really, of any fond memories that I had, I was really deprived of that.

In addition, I think one of the things I can say about my mother is that she subsequently bore her oldest daughter on September 1944. But, subsequent to that, she had two miscarriages. I believe that was part of really the impact of war. Because Nana was forced to work for the Japanese. But, again, Nana would never talk about it. In that working, Nana, I think, was affected. But, she did not want to talk about it.

So, it's now my recollection. I'm sorry Nana is dead, and I cannot actually ask this. But, as I look at the atrocity and I hear the atrocities that are really bought, I actually say that there are other hidden atrocities, continuing atrocities that even to this day.

The atrocity that I bring is really the atrocity of being deprived of the memories of all of our heroes, all of my people, all of my elderly and all of the people who have merited.

I close really with a nightmare that my mother-in-law and father-in-law actually had. That one, I vividly experience. When Pop is about 80, 79 years old, he was starting to have Alzheimer's. When he leaves the house, there was one time when it was really a heavy rain. I think it's part of the recollection of the war, Pop, we found him hiding under one of the bushes. We asked him, "Pop, what are you doing?" He said, "The Japanese are coming."

My mother-in-law, who is still living, who is 93 years old, the only recollection that I have was that she was marched to Barrigada with her newly born son and forced to march, to carry the son who is just newly born. He was born on July 3rd, I think, 1943. Momma now refuses to talk about it. But, we hear it in the nightmare that she sometimes experiences. We hear it when she tells us she's afraid because the Japanese are coming.

Those are memories of the living. But, the memories of the dead I carry. I carry the deprivation of the memories that actually was not shared with me.

Real People. Real Stories. A weekly testimonial series provided by the Office of Senator Frank F. Blas, Jr. The testimony of Jose Quinene Cruz, is recorded in the Guam War Claims Review Commission public hearing held in Hagåtña, Guam on December 9, 2003. This story sponsored by the community involvement of The T-Factory. Photo courtesy of Expressions Studio.