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Blaz memorial service to be held Saturday

Papaliitele David Cohen and Aumua catch up with Ben during a reception at the U.S. Capitol a few years ago. [courtesy photo]

A memorial service is scheduled Saturday on Guam for the late former Guam Delegate and retired Marine Brig. Gen. Ben Blaz.

In an email from Aumua Amata she expressed her family's sympathy on the passing of 85 year-old former Congressman, who was a long-time friend of her family.

"I remember my parents telling me about how they first met Congressman Blaz," said Amata, "many years before he even thought about running for Congress. It was a particularly cold winter in Washington, D.C. and they were attending President John F. Kennedy's inauguration in 1961. Major Blaz served as military aide to my father and they hit it off from that time on."

Amata continued, "From there he rose up through the ranks achieving the rank of General in the U.S. Marine Corps. Years later, when Blaz was elected to Guam's seat in Congress, his colleagues voted him in as president of their freshman class and I do not recall ever hearing of a territorial Delegate being selected for that high honor. He may have been the first."

"Congressman Blaz was a credit to the Marines and Congress but especially to Guam and to all of us from the territories. We will miss Ben," Aumua said.

The memorial service is scheduled to take place starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, in the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica in Hagåtña, according to Jessy Gogue, mayor of Ordot and Chalan Pago.

Blaz was from Ordot.

Blaz's funeral will be held at the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel sent a statement on the passing of Blaz, saying he was saddened.

"He was an exceptional and pathbreaking leader in the United States military and a strong advocate for the people of Guam in the halls of Congress. He will be missed, but his legacy of service, sacrifice, and leadership will endure."



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