Only senior readers with good memories may remember Guam’s link to Queen Elizabeth and the late Prince Phillip, who passed away on April 9. The royal pair — and their party of 30 — visited Guam in May 1975.
The visit to the island was apparently part of a regional tour that took in Hong Kong and Japan, following a commonwealth conference in Jamaica. There was some doubt that the visit would take place due to “facilities” being “overtaxed by refugees from Vietnam,” according to the New York Times of May 2, 1975. Operation New Life took place from April to November that year — when thousands of refugees from Vietnam were sheltered and processed in Guam after the fall of Saigon.
But Her Majesty and Prince Philip made it.
I know former governor Eddie Calvo repaid the compliment in 2012, meeting Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace, when he was in London to support Guam’s Olympic team. She did remember visiting Guam and told him that she had toured the refugee camp. …
They say (and they are correct) that everybody in Guam has a relative that has either served or is serving in the military. And sure enough, as I was leaving the Guam National Guard’s headquarters after meeting with Adjutant General Esther Aguigui, I heard from behind me, “Auntie Maureen!” …
Until that day I had never seen my niece out and about in uniform. …
Thank you to the Guam reader that said how much they miss passing by Herman’s Bakery, after Saipan Correspondent Iva Maurin’s story in March on the expansion of Tan Marikita’s Café and the bakery’s retail section. (You and me both, and the sooner we can visit Saipan and the other islands of the NMI without five days of quarantine in Saipan, the better) …
I never thought I would miss the tour buses in Tumon. And I don’t miss getting stuck behind them.
But I do miss what they signify.
Our tourists must return.
But I know that in the meantime everybody is supporting Guam’s businesses and that our people are generous in so many ways. It takes a big heart to leave a gathering because there are a few people too many (especially on this island), but I saw that happen.
Our gathering numbers must increase.
And recently at an open-air bar a waitstaff team member said to me that she could not yet qualify her work as “employed.”
“You could say I’m just helping out,” she said with a smile.
Our occupancy percentage has to go higher.
It is sad that we have seen clusters in Guam — and it is no time to relax, or risk further restrictions returning as the Physicians Advisory Group on Guam that advises the governor is cautious and jumpy by nature.
But as Hawaii prepared and entered its own re-opening for tourism late last year, its COVID numbers went up and did not really curve down again until February.
I think we have to accept that this pernicious virus will not go away for a long time.
In the meantime, congratulations to those businesses that have re-opened, will launch or are investing.
It takes courage and many small steps to do so, despite the smiling faces in a lineup.
But masks or not, we know you are smiling. …
— Maureen N. Maratita is the publisher at Glimpses Media. Publications at Glimpses Media include the Marianas Business Journal, MBJ Life, The Real Estate Journal, Guam Business Magazine, Beach Road Magazine, Buenas and Drive Guam.