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Fa’a Samoa Initiative Volleyball Camps

jeff@samoanews.com

There were over 50 high school girls at the Department of Youth and Women’s Affairs (DYWA) gymnasium in Pago Pago, participating in the first day of the Troy and Theodora Polamalu Foundation’s Fa’a Samoa Initiative Volleyball Camp, Day 1.
 
As part of this year’s  Initiative, four-time Olympic volleyball athlete Logan Tom worked along with other coaches with local high school volleyball players to help improve their game.
 
The other site for the elementary aged student volleyball players is the American Samoa Community College gymnasium. Starting time for the DYWA camp site is 8:00 a.m., while the ASCC camp site starting time is 7:45 a.m. (ages 8-10), 9:45 a.m. (ages 11-12) and 12:45 p.m. (ages 13-15).
 
The camps are helping each athlete improve on their game by having the students participate in drills throughout the day. “I am learning a lot and I am getting to go over what I already knew about the game,” said one participant. “
 
'Thank yous’ go out to the Initiative for coming down to work with us— and thank you to the coaches,” said another volleyball player.  Keep reading Samoa News for the latest in this year’s Troy and Theodora Polamalu Foundation’s Fa’a Samoa Initiative.

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Troy and Theodora Polamalu Foundation Fa’a Samoa Initiative 2015

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Troy and Theodora Polamalu Foundation Fa’a Samoa Initiative 2015

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Troy and Theodora Polamalu Foundation Fa’a Samoa Initiative 2015

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OBAMA PAYS TRIBUTE TO FALLEN SERVICE MEMBERS AT ARLINGTON

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) -- President Barack Obama saluted Americans who died in battle Monday, saying the country must "never stop trying to fully repay them" for their sacrifices and noting the first Memorial Day in 14 years without U.S. forces involved in a major ground war.

Speaking under sunny skies to some 5,000 people on the hallowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery, Obama called the burial place "more than a final resting place for fallen heroes"

"It is a reflection of America itself. A reflection of our history, the wars we've waged for democracy, the peace we've laid to preserve it," he said. "It is a reflection of our diversity, of people from different races and creeds who fought for the ideals that bind us as one nation."

His appearance was an annual rite for presidents at the site of the national cemetery nestled among the verdant hills overlooking the Potomac River. It came with the number of troops stationed in Afghanistan reduced to about 10,000, from a peak of over 100,000. Monday's tribute also took place against a backdrop of the increasingly complex U.S. effort to help Iraq defeat a surging Islamic State extremist group that has been gaining momentum in recent weeks, capturing Ramadi there and taking Palmyra in neighboring Syria.

Of Afghanistan, he said "we'll continue to bring them home and reduce our forces further, down to an embassy presence by the end of the year."

"We honor the more than 2,200 patriots who made the sacrifice in Afghanistan," he said. Earlier Monday, troops still stationed in Afghanistan paused for a moment of silence in honor of those who lost their lives in the war-torn country.

The Arlington observance was among a host of Memorial Day events across the country featuring parades, picnics and tributes. Presaging Monday's solemn event at Arlington was the roar of motorcycle engines throughout the capital Sunday as thousands of bikers saluted veterans with the Rolling Thunder's "Ride for Freedom." That was followed by a concert of patriotic music Sunday evening and Obama's private breakfast at the White House Monday morning with representatives of veteran and military family service organizations, along with the Gold Star Mothers, Gold Star Wives and Sons and Daughters in Touch. A Memorial Day parade was set for downtown Washington Monday afternoon.

North Dakota marked the 25th anniversary of the groundbreaking for the state's Veterans Cemetery south of Mandan. Gov. Jack Dalrymple directed all state agencies to fly the U.S. and state flags at half-mast, a practice put in place across the country.

Obama traveled by motorcade in late morning from the White House to Arlington and began his outing by laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns. He bowed his head briefly and listened with others to the playing of "Taps."

"Most Americans don't fully see, don't fully understand, the sacrifices of the 1 percent of the Americans who serve in this all-volunteer force," Obama said in his speech. "Our Gold Star families, our military families, our veterans, they know this intimately."

"Whenever I meet with our "Gold Star" families, as I did this morning, I see that their hearts are still broken, but still full of love," he said. "In the face of unspeakable loss, they represent the best of who we are."

Obama said the markers at Arlington signify the blessings enjoyed by "so many Americans."

"It's a debt we can never fully repay," he said, "but a debt we will never stop trying to fully repay."

Speaking ahead of Obama, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said, "We, your fellow Americans, lack the words to describe what you feel today because try as we may, and try as we do, we can never fully know. But we do know what your sacrifice means to us."

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1 dead as plane carrying Marines crashes in Hawaii

HONOLULU (AP) -- A U.S. military plane crashed and caught fire as it tried to land during training exercises in Hawaii, killing one Marine, injuring 21 other people and sending black smoke billowing into the sky.

Their injuries ranged from critical to minor, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific spokesman Capt. Alex Lim said.

The tilt-rotor aircraft, which can take off and land like a helicopter but flies like an airplane, had a "hard-landing mishap" around 11:40 a.m. Sunday at Bellows Air Force Station on Oahu, the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit said in a statement.

The MV-22 Osprey had 22 people aboard - 21 Marines and one Navy corpsman assigned to the unit, spokesman Capt. Brian Block said in an email.

The unit is based at Camp Pendleton in California and is in Hawaii for about a week of training. The Osprey was being used for training at the time of the crash, the cause of which was under investigation, Lim said.

Kimberly Hynd said she was hiking the popular Lanikai Pillbox Trail and could see three Osprey aircraft performing maneuvers from her vantage point in the hills above the base.

She noticed them kicking up dirt but then saw smoke and fire. Hynd, who estimated she was 2 to 3 miles away, didn't hear the sound of a large crash.

"It looked like they were doing some sort of maneuver or formation - and so I was taking pictures of it because usually you can't see them that close up," Hynd said.

Donald Gahit said he looked outside his house after hearing sirens pass by and saw smoke rising from the air station.

"At first I thought it was clouds, but it was moving fast and it was pretty dark," the Waimanalo resident said.

Ospreys may be equipped with radar, lasers and a missile defense system, and each can carry 24 Marines into combat.

Built by Boeing Co. and Bell, a unit of Textron Inc., the Osprey program was nearly scrapped after a history of mechanical failures and two test crashes that killed 23 Marines in 2000.

The aircraft have since been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Some Osprey also are helping with earthquake relief efforts in Nepal.

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Leone Mother's Day Farm Fair

all photos: Tony Gasu
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16th Annual Steinlager I’a Lapo’a Game Fishing Tournament

photos: Tony Gasu & Jeff Hayner
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Gaoteote: “We begin to learn about freedom and justice” by serving in the military

fili@samoanews.com

“It’s a great day to be a solider. It’s a great day to be a military veteran. And it’s a great time to be in American Samoa,” declared Senate President Gaoteote Tofau Palaie, a military veteran, at the start of his Flag Day Address last Friday.
 
Gaoteote — the keynote speaker for this year’s ceremony dedicated to the U.S. military, both veterans and those in active duty — then called for all veterans, active duty personnel and reservists present at Veterans Memorial Stadium to stand. They did so, and were applauded by the crowd. 
 
On behalf of all veterans as well as active duty military personnel, Gaoteote expressed appreciation to Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga and the territorial government for honoring them on the 115th anniversary of the Flag Day ceremony.
 
“While we are only servants, that is our life — to serve and protect, with the goal for all Samoans to live freely,” he said. “What can we say about this special honor bestowed upon us... except to say, ‘thank you’.”
 
As an Army veteran, Gaoteote said that he is humbled and honored to represent all veterans and active duty members. He said that he owes this honor to so many people and he acknowledged and thanked Samoan fathers who served on the territory’s “first home grown Army - the Fitafita Guard”.
 
According to the Senate President, it was their example and courage that “put the thought of being an Army soldier in a young Samoan boy’s mind” and shared a brief look at his personal life and what the military has done for him and his family, noting that the military “became a reality for this one reason — I had a family to provide for. My parents and my family in Samoa needed my support and I had started a family of my own. “
 
 Gaoteote said the “military became the means for me to support my family” and at the time, he as an 18-year-old Samoan young man, didn’t know that joining the military “was going to be the opportunity to learn and practice the real meaning of honor, respect, courage, and perseverance.”
 
He stated that as Samoans, “we know honor [because] we... honor our family, our village and our island”. Additionally, “we learn to become courageous in our own decisions and our actions”.
 
“When we enlist [in the military], we’re sworn to uphold the military oath, we wore our uniform with pride, we’re taught to salute the flag. That is where we begin to learn and understand about freedom, liberty and justice,” he pointed out.
 
And when sent overseas to places like Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan, “we  realized the mission was and always is to protect those ideals —freedom, liberty and justice, so that our children will grow up in a free country.”
 
Gaoteote pointed out that veterans will not deny the fact that “it was an honor to serve under the American flag. We served in the past, our sons and daughters are serving today, and our grand children will serve tomorrow” in the U.S. Armed Forces.
 
“For me, my grandson — third generation — is now at West Point” U.S. Military Academy, said Gaoteote, who then paid respect “to the real heroes”—  those who died while serving in the military.
 
He identified by name seven individuals — three fallen soldiers of the Vietnam war and four in the Iraq war, “these are just a few names, and yet there are so many of them… the fallen heroes, who left this world with honor, dignity, and respect.”
 
In closing he again called for all veterans, reservists and active duty personnel to rise, as the crowd once again gave them resounding applause.
 
OTHER EVENTS
 
Prior to Gaoteote’s address, the governor gave special remarks honoring veterans and current active duty personnel for their service and paying tribute to fallen Toa o Samoa as well as to their family members.
 
Also part of the program, was the official swearing in of former Sen. Mauga T. Asuega as Secretary of Samoan Affairs, administered by Attorney General Talauega Eleasalo Ale. (Samoa News had previously reported that the swearing in had occurred  last Wednesday, but that event was, instead, Mauga signing documents  as Secretary of Samoan Affairs.) See Samoa News online edition for Saturday, Apr. 18 for details of the governor’s remarks.
 
After the speeches came the parade, or “pass in review” and the program was on time as scheduled, with the next event for the celebration the ‘siva and pese’.
 
The veterans group, which included family members, was the first on the malae as they performed both siva and pese for the crowd with assembled guests, many from off-island.
 
The villages of Olosega and Sili representing the Manu’a District for ‘siva’ was up next, followed by the villages of Masausi and Sailele representing the Western District, also with their ‘siva’.
 
The village of Nua & Seetaga, representing the Western District, was assigned “pese” only. The group had a one-minute special segment dedicated to fallen heroes, in which Public Works director Faleosina Voigt sang “America the Beautiful”.
 
The group then noted in their presentation, improvements made to roads on other parts of Tutuila — but not the roads in the Alataua county — which includes Nua & Seetaga.
 
They pointed out that roads are so bad in their county that a pregnant woman riding in a vehicle, would give birth before reaching the hospital, from the shaking of the car due to bad road conditions, and this brought laughter from the crowd.
 
They called on the Lolo Administration to make road improvements in the Fofo and Alataua counties. They also asked the government to look at improvements for the growing school enrollment at Alataua Elementary school, which covers all of Alataua County. They also called for a return by the Territorial Administration on Aging to the food voucher, instead of the current cooked food program.
 
The last group on the malae was the much anticipated performance by more than 100 students of the Don Bosco Technology school from Samoa. The group’s many fast moving dance actions brought applause and loud cheers from the crowd, many of whom showed up at the stadium to witness the performance by the all-male school.
 
In their pese, the group said they have heard that American Samoa is opening up a new cannery (referring to Samoa Tuna Processors Inc.,) and asked the territory to keep in mind the Don Bosco technical school, which has students who graduate in trades such as carpentry, plumbing and electrical work.
 
They also called on American Samoa to keep Samoa in mind and to share any benefits it receives from President Obama.
 
The final event of the day was the closing ceremony, which included the distribution of awards for the cricket tournament, although the amounts of their monetary prizes were not announced. Monetary gifts were also presented to groups who performed the siva and pese, but the amounts were also not made public, which has been the usual practice in the past.
 
There were special remarks by Samoa’s Speaker of Parliament, La’auli L. Polotaivao Fosi, speaking on behalf of Head of State Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi and the people and government of Samoa, expressing appreciation for the invitation to join our Flag Day celebration.
 
The last and final event for the 2015 Flag Day is the fautasi race, which has been postponed  twice, and is now scheduled to be held at 11a.m. today. Prizes for the race will be distributed later today. (See separate story on Fautasi race.)

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Gaoteote: “We begin to learn about freedom and justice” by serving in the military

fili@samoanews.com

“It’s a great day to be a solider. It’s a great day to be a military veteran. And it’s a great time to be in American Samoa,” declared Senate President Gaoteote Tofau Palaie, a military veteran, at the start of his Flag Day Address last Friday.
 
Gaoteote — the keynote speaker for this year’s ceremony dedicated to the U.S. military, both veterans and those in active duty — then called for all veterans, active duty personnel and reservists present at Veterans Memorial Stadium to stand. They did so, and were applauded by the crowd. 
 
On behalf of all veterans as well as active duty military personnel, Gaoteote expressed appreciation to Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga and the territorial government for honoring them on the 115th anniversary of the Flag Day ceremony.
 
“While we are only servants, that is our life — to serve and protect, with the goal for all Samoans to live freely,” he said. “What can we say about this special honor bestowed upon us... except to say, ‘thank you’.”
 
As an Army veteran, Gaoteote said that he is humbled and honored to represent all veterans and active duty members. He said that he owes this honor to so many people and he acknowledged and thanked Samoan fathers who served on the territory’s “first home grown Army - the Fitafita Guard”.
 
According to the Senate President, it was their example and courage that “put the thought of being an Army soldier in a young Samoan boy’s mind” and shared a brief look at his personal life and what the military has done for him and his family, noting that the military “became a reality for this one reason — I had a family to provide for. My parents and my family in Samoa needed my support and I had started a family of my own. “
 
 Gaoteote said the “military became the means for me to support my family” and at the time, he as an 18-year-old Samoan young man, didn’t know that joining the military “was going to be the opportunity to learn and practice the real meaning of honor, respect, courage, and perseverance.”
 
He stated that as Samoans, “we know honor [because] we... honor our family, our village and our island”. Additionally, “we learn to become courageous in our own decisions and our actions”.
 
“When we enlist [in the military], we’re sworn to uphold the military oath, we wore our uniform with pride, we’re taught to salute the flag. That is where we begin to learn and understand about freedom, liberty and justice,” he pointed out.
 
And when sent overseas to places like Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan, “we  realized the mission was and always is to protect those ideals —freedom, liberty and justice, so that our children will grow up in a free country.”
 
Gaoteote pointed out that veterans will not deny the fact that “it was an honor to serve under the American flag. We served in the past, our sons and daughters are serving today, and our grand children will serve tomorrow” in the U.S. Armed Forces.
 
“For me, my grandson — third generation — is now at West Point” U.S. Military Academy, said Gaoteote, who then paid respect “to the real heroes”—  those who died while serving in the military.
 
He identified by name seven individuals — three fallen soldiers of the Vietnam war and four in the Iraq war, “these are just a few names, and yet there are so many of them… the fallen heroes, who left this world with honor, dignity, and respect.”
 
In closing he again called for all veterans, reservists and active duty personnel to rise, as the crowd once again gave them resounding applause.
 
OTHER EVENTS
 
Prior to Gaoteote’s address, the governor gave special remarks honoring veterans and current active duty personnel for their service and paying tribute to fallen Toa o Samoa as well as to their family members.
 
Also part of the program, was the official swearing in of former Sen. Mauga T. Asuega as Secretary of Samoan Affairs, administered by Attorney General Talauega Eleasalo Ale. (Samoa News had previously reported that the swearing in had occurred  last Wednesday, but that event was, instead, Mauga signing documents  as Secretary of Samoan Affairs.) See Samoa News online edition for Saturday, Apr. 18 for details of the governor’s remarks.
 
After the speeches came the parade, or “pass in review” and the program was on time as scheduled, with the next event for the celebration the ‘siva and pese’.
 
The veterans group, which included family members, was the first on the malae as they performed both siva and pese for the crowd with assembled guests, many from off-island.
 
The villages of Olosega and Sili representing the Manu’a District for ‘siva’ was up next, followed by the villages of Masausi and Sailele representing the Western District, also with their ‘siva’.
 
The village of Nua & Seetaga, representing the Western District, was assigned “pese” only. The group had a one-minute special segment dedicated to fallen heroes, in which Public Works director Faleosina Voigt sang “America the Beautiful”.
 
The group then noted in their presentation, improvements made to roads on other parts of Tutuila — but not the roads in the Alataua county — which includes Nua & Seetaga.
 
They pointed out that roads are so bad in their county that a pregnant woman riding in a vehicle, would give birth before reaching the hospital, from the shaking of the car due to bad road conditions, and this brought laughter from the crowd.
 
They called on the Lolo Administration to make road improvements in the Fofo and Alataua counties. They also asked the government to look at improvements for the growing school enrollment at Alataua Elementary school, which covers all of Alataua County. They also called for a return by the Territorial Administration on Aging to the food voucher, instead of the current cooked food program.
 
The last group on the malae was the much anticipated performance by more than 100 students of the Don Bosco Technology school from Samoa. The group’s many fast moving dance actions brought applause and loud cheers from the crowd, many of whom showed up at the stadium to witness the performance by the all-male school.
 
In their pese, the group said they have heard that American Samoa is opening up a new cannery (referring to Samoa Tuna Processors Inc.,) and asked the territory to keep in mind the Don Bosco technical school, which has students who graduate in trades such as carpentry, plumbing and electrical work.
 
They also called on American Samoa to keep Samoa in mind and to share any benefits it receives from President Obama.
 
The final event of the day was the closing ceremony, which included the distribution of awards for the cricket tournament, although the amounts of their monetary prizes were not announced. Monetary gifts were also presented to groups who performed the siva and pese, but the amounts were also not made public, which has been the usual practice in the past.
 
There were special remarks by Samoa’s Speaker of Parliament, La’auli L. Polotaivao Fosi, speaking on behalf of Head of State Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi and the people and government of Samoa, expressing appreciation for the invitation to join our Flag Day celebration.
 
The last and final event for the 2015 Flag Day is the fautasi race, which has been postponed  twice, and is now scheduled to be held at 11a.m. today. Prizes for the race will be distributed later today. (See separate story on Fautasi race.)

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