"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Island reader threatened with war

A new reader clicked on this blog this past week, and while that person's island home not a country, it has a flag, the most western outpost of American soil. Guam becomes the 96th "country" to have readers of this blog.
Guam is in the news again, because the megalomaniac (the term usually reserved for Hitler) dictator of North Korea has threatened it this past week as one of his targets as he blusters about war.
Guam's flag dates from 1948, carrying the coat of arms, with a proa sailing in Agana Bay, and a prominent headline in the background.

The southernmost of the Mariana islands, Guam is about 40 miles long and no more than 12 miles wide, home to about 140,000 people. The first people settled about 4,000 years ago, and then was "discovered" by Magellan in 1521. Colonized in 1668, it became an important stop for Spanish galleons from the Philippines. The U.S.  took over at the end of the Spanish American War in 1898. the Japanese conquered it the day after Pearl Harbor and held it for more than two years, subjecting the residents to torture, beheadings and rape. Liberation Day was July 21, 1944. 
It's located 1,600  miles east of the Philippines, and is one of five U.S. territories with a civilian government. Today it continues to be important strategically a with U.S. naval base, (I've seen a photo of one of our nuclear carriers entering the main bay) which is why the North Korean nut is threatening it. It is probably in missile range of the Koreans, 2,100 miles to the north. It is also threatened by an imported tree snake that has almost wiped out its bird population. Two snakes, two threats.
Naval photo of the south end of Guam.

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