Traveling to Saipan
Saipan is an island in the western Pacific where I lived and taught for a number of years. I’ve been invited to return to Saipan this July to help teach a special “on site” symposium for educators, “Saipan’s Land and Sea: Battle Scars & Sites of Resilience.” I invite you to “come along.” I think you will be surprised about the history and the beauty of this island. Saipan is a political part of the United States. It is beautiful. Take a look. This first photo is a bird’s eye view of the isle Managaha as it sits in the middle of the Saipan lagoon.
Saipan is the kind of tropical island one imagines. Sweeping white sand beaches stretch along clear turquoise-blue waters. One hears the rustle of coconut palms as trade winds blow cool breezes from the sea. It also has rusting army tanks left from WWII, cement bunkers built by the Japanese military and Suicide Cliff where hundreds leaped to their deaths. The presence of war washes in and out like the tide …. But there is also resilience, recovery and hope. At deadly Suicide Cliffs, we again see slender white tropic birds soar, jeweled spiders spin giant webs, and black butterflies that again survive the lashes of frequent typhoons. Here on this island, we will witness how the human spirit can endure destruction, heal, and even forgive, and then re-build, even after total devastation from war and atomic bombs.
Saipan is part of the United States, one of the 15 islands of the Northern Marianas archipelago. The southernmost island is Guam.
To find Saipan, look at a world map or globe. Find the Hawaiian Islands and then continue west. Keep going. If your finger bumps into the Philippines, you have gone a bit too far. Take a moment to look at the wide expanse of the Pacific Ocean, the largest expanse of any single entity, an ocean covers nearly half of earth’s entire surface!
Saipan, a place of beauty but often in a crossroads of war, I hope you will join me on this Pacific island adventure.
My books about Saipan, the culture, World War II, the people and their stories: