The Guam Society of America joins the Blaz Family in mourning the passing of Guam Society Member, former Congressman and retired U.S. Marine Corps Brigadier General Vincete Tomas “Ben” Garrido Blaz. “Tun Ben” passed away on January 8, 2014 at the age of 85 years old. He survived a Japanese prison camp during World War II and later became the first Chamorro to attain the rank of General in the U.S. Armed Forces. He also served as Guam’s Congressional Delegate in the House of Representatives in the U.S. Congress from 1985-1993.
Visitation/Viewing Services will be held for Tun Ben at the Everly Funeral Home, 10565 Main Street, Fairfax, Virginia 22030 on Monday, February 24, 2014 from 12:30PM-3:00PM and at 5:00PM-8:00PM.
The Guam Congressional Office will be providing refreshments and basic food items for the viewing. Guam Society members are encouraged to provide additional food donations for the viewing/visitation periods (preferably soups or desserts). If you would like to assist with this effort, please contact Rosanne Meno at 202.225.1188.
Tun Ben’s Parish Priest from Saint Mary of Sorrows Catholic Church in Fairfax, VA will be saying a rosary at 1:00PM during the afternoon viewing . Guam Society members are encouraged to attend this viewing and join in singing Chamorro Hymns after the rosary. For those unable to make the afternoon, viewing, please join us in the evening where we will again join in our traditional songs of worship in honor of Tun Ben at 6:15PM. The Society feels that this is a fitting tribute to remember Tun Ben and all he has done for our people, our island, and our country.
Please remember that the family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org). Although Tun Ben did not have Alzheimers, his wife, Anne did, as did her father.
Tun Ben will be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery on Tuesday, February 25, 2014. Mass will be said at 8:30AM at the Old Post Chapel, Meigs Drive, Fort Myer, Arlington, Virginia 22211. For those planning to attend the mass the funeral afterwards, please arrive and be seated in the chapel not later than 8:25AM. The Blaz family has asked the Guam Society and its members to sing at the funeral as well. We hope that you will take time to ‘dispidi’ (say farewell to) Tun Ben in our Chamorro tradition.
After the Mass, Tun Ben will be escorted via horse and carriage in a traditional military funeral to his burial site at Arlington National Cemetery. Attendees will be able to follow on foot or in their vehicles. For those who plan to walk, the procession could be a mile in length so please plan accordingly.
If you are in the Washington, D.C. Metro are, the Guam Society encourages you to please take time to say farewell to a great leader and Chamorro who not only represented our people and our island in his service as a member of Congress, but as veteran in the United States Armed Forces. Tun Ben will truly be missed and remembered.
PLEAE NOTE: Tun Ben’s funeral is on a normal duty for the Fort Myer Installation. Entry into the military installation may take time, so please come early (highly recommend that you are at the installation gate, by 7:00AM). Vehicle occupants will be required to present a photo ID upon entry into the installation; drivers will need to have current vehicle registration and your vehicle may undergo additional security screening prior to being allowed entry onto Fort Myer. Upon showing your ID, drivers should notify the gate security guards that they are attending General Blaz’ funeral.
If you have relatives or friends who are coming from out of town, they will be able to access the Fort Myer installation via taxi; however, please inform the cab drivers/company that they will need to go all the way past the entry gate, as some cab drivers/companies will not proceed beyond the gate entrance. Please use the Fort Myer/Joint Base Myer Hatfield Gate at South Washington Blvd and 2nd Street South.
Directions to the Old Post Chapel after clearing the Hatfield Gate Entrance:
1. Head northeast on Carpenter Road toward Sheridan Avenue.
2. Turn LEFT onto McNair Road.