Story Number: NNS140313-05Release Date: 3/13/2014 8:06:00 AM
By JoAnna Delfin, Joint Region Marianas Public Affairs
SANTA RITA, Guam (NNS) -- Service members, base patrons and members from the military and local communities gathered to celebrate Chamorro Month at the Navy Exchange (NEX) Guam main complex on U.S. Naval Base Guam (NBG) March 13.
Chamorro Month is commemorated annually in March and celebrates Guam's culture, heritage and people.
"We have to recognize that we're in a place with a unique culture," said NBG Commanding Officer Capt. Mike Ward. "We occupy an installation today doing a very important mission but it's very important to recognize the history and culture that surrounds us. It's unique to celebrate events like this to bring the attention to everybody that's here on island, not only the active-duty military but the family members in the community as well."
Ward expressed his gratitude to NEX Guam, Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) Guam, Agat Mayor Carol Tayama, Agat Vice Mayor Agustin Quintanilla and staff for organizing the event, which featured a traditional Chamorro hut, a farmer's market, cultural weaving and floral arrangements.
"We don't stay on the base; we go out and live, work and shop in the community," Ward said. "When we do that and we allow the folks to come on the base for special events like this, we foster those better relationships and trusts and understanding so we can enable our mission here but still continue to support the community and acknowledge and respect the culture that is part of Guam."
NEX Guam and FFSC have partnered to organize and host the event since its inception in 2009 and continue to promote Guam's culture and heritage with the event.
"I think it's something that holds a lot of value, to understand that history and what's happened in that period of time and that's what we're hosting here," said NEX Guam District Manager Phil Harrison. "I think that everyone that walks through will learn something from that and have a deeper appreciation for it."
The Chamorro hut will be on display at the NEX Guam main complex and patrons can take part in various events including storytelling, food sampling and Guam jewelry-making throughout the month of March.
For more news from U.S. Naval Forces, Marianas, visit www.navy.mil/local/guam/.