Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

July 28, 2013

Professor witnesses patriotism in Guam

ASHLAND — Dan Bailey of Ashland reports he recently witnessed the true spirit of patriotism and appreciation during a visit to Guam for Liberation Day, celebrating the arrival of the U.S. Marines Corps in 1944.

“It is July 21 and that is the day of the Invasion of Guam in 1944, when the invasion began to take back Guam after 31 months of occupation by the Japanese,” Bailey said, explaining he visited Guam along with Sai Pan, Tinain, Okinawa and Nagasaki between July 4 and 22 as part of an ongoing exploration and revisitation of his father’s military experiences.

Bailey is traveling the same route his dad’s 10th Regiment, Second Marine Division traveled from June 15, 1944, until the end of the occupation of Nagasaki in 1946, with plans to compile his experiences in “Closing the Circle: Tracing the Footsteps of My Father During World War II.”

Bailey said his father went to Guam when a Marine pilot invited him along for the ride. The professor said his first glimpse of the patriotism of the people of Guam came when an associate from that country thanked him for his father’s service.

“He gave me the sharpest military salute I’ve ever received in my career and thanked me for my dad’s service. It gave me chill bumps up and down my spine,” said Bailey, a retired Army Reserve lieutenant colonel.

The experience, however, did not quite prepare him for his own Liberation Day in Guam.

“During the week leading up to it, people would say ‘Happy Liberation Day!’ Men are kissing women and all that. Of course, there’s a heavy emphasis on family there. I counted 68 floats lined up for the big parade,” he said, noting the holiday has retained its intent and the people’s appreciation is sincere, with massive crowds along the extensive parade route. “It’s very genuine. In fact, they’ll tell you it’s the most important day of the year to them.”

Many in Guam told him Liberation Day is “bigger than Christmas,” he said, adding practically everyone he met gave him a message for his father.

“They would say, ‘Take this message to your dad.’ Nearly every person I met ... it was phrased many ways. They appreciate they would not be here if not for the Marines,” he said.

 “The main highway in Guam is Marine Corps Drive. It is the main route in Guam,” Bailey said, explaining the road name originally excluded the word “Corps” but the people there insisted it be changed so there would be no confusion with diving or aquatic considerations.

During his time in Guam, Bailey also followed another bit of family history. Explaining his father grew up alongside Okel and Hobert Skaggs, the uncle and father of country music artist Ricky Skaggs, Bailey said he sought and found information about Okel Skaggs as part of his research.

“Okel was killed during the invasion, but at the time my father was not aware that he had been killed there,” Bailey said, explaining he gathered photos and documents he hoped to present to Skaggs while he was in Ashland for a performance at the Paramount Arts Center.

Bailey said his mission to retrace his father’s war routes resulted from a deeply personal experience.

“While preparing to go to church on Easter morning 1995, my dad stood over a wash basin with shaving lather on his face and said to me, ‘Fifty years ago this morning we hit the beaches of Okinawa,’” he said. “I call that a defining moment in my life.”

Bailey extensively photographed each of the places where his father had gone before him. He will present “Closing the Circle: Tracing the Footsteps of My Father During World War II” during the October meeting of the Eastern Kentucky Military Historical Society, as well as for a group in Paintsville and for members of the local Lions Club and other civic and church organizations.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2651.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Judge denies renewed motion to dismiss Rosen lawsuit

    A judge has refused to dismiss a former Boyd district and circuit judge’s lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a law that affects his ability to run for re-election this fall.
    In an order entered on Friday, Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas D. Wingate denied a renewed motion to dismiss by current Boyd Circuit Judge George W. Davis III, an intervening respondent in the suit filed in January by Marc I. Rosen.

    April 23, 2014

  • Ashland football players join special-needs students for prom

    The purple chiffon gown and the sparkling tiara are back in the closet four days after the big dance, but Karina McBride still hasn’t stopped talking about Saturday night — the decorations, boys bringing her cups of punch, her first kiss (on the cheek, her mother hastens to interject), and dancing the night away at her first prom.
    “She’s been flying high since that night,” said Michele Woods, who is Karina’s mother and who brought together friends and volunteers to organize a prom for special needs students.

    April 23, 2014

  • Concrete pouring at Putnam

    Workers are pouring concrete foundations at Putnam Stadium and once those are dry and cured will be ready to install seats at the historic arena.
    The workers are putting in 12-hour shifts to keep on schedule to complete the stadium’s reconstruction in time for this fall’s football opener, said site supervisor Craig Chinn of Trace Creek Construction.
    The most visible work is happening on the home-team side of the stadium, where workers Tuesday were setting forms for the cylindrical concrete piers that will support the seats. Once those are poured, cured and inspected they will add the seats.

    April 23, 2014

  • Unique races for Carter magistrates

    Carter County magistrate ballots are full of candidates eager to represent constituents in each of the five districts that make up the county’s fiscal court.
    Of the five seats available, three magistrates are seeking re-election: Clarence “Sonny” Fankell, D-Grayson, District 2; Clifford “Sodbuster” Roe, D-Olive Hill, District 4; and Brandon Burton, R-Olive Hill, District 5.
    The incumbents will each have to battle as many as three opponents in their district primaries next month before they can focus on reclaiming their magistrate titles in the November general election.
    This year’s magistrate race will host a total of 22 candidates, with 11 from Grayson, nine from Olive Hill and two from Denton.

    April 23, 2014

  • Martin County marks 50 years since LBJ visit

    Today marks 5o years since former U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson visited Inez resident Tom Fletcher and promised to end poverty in America on April 24, 1964. On Friday, Inez will be commemorating the occasion with a special event.

    April 23, 2014

  • Trail Town trial run to be in Olive Hill this Sunday

    Olive Hill will participate in a trial run this Saturday in the city’s push to become a certified Kentucky Trail Town.

    April 23, 2014

  • Some area farmers may be eligible for LIP program

    The Grayson  Farm Service Agency, (Boyd, Carter, Elliott and Lawrence) is having registration for the Livestock Indemnity Program to eligible producers who suffered losses beginning Oct. 1, 2011, and subsequent years.

    April 23, 2014

  • News in brief, 04/24/14

    The King’s Daughters Pregancy and Infant Loss Support Group invites families who have experienced the loss of an infant during pregnancy or following birth to participate in a butterfly release and prayer ceremony at 2 p.m. May 10 at the Ashland Central Park fountain.

    April 23, 2014

  • Garner hosting National Day of Prayer activities

    The Garner Missionary Baptist Church will be hosting day long events at the Kyova Mall to commemorate the National Day of Prayer on Thursday, May 1.

    April 23, 2014

  • Flatwoods mayoral debate set for Tuesday

    A public debate among the candidates seeking to become the next mayor of Flatwoods will take place next week.

    April 22, 2014