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AmSam joins nation in observing Memorial Day

American Samoa joins the rest of the nation Monday observing Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day. Observed on the last Monday in May, Memorial Day commemorates U.S. men and women who died while in military service.


Extended to a three-day weekend, it is a federal and local holiday for most of the nation’s workers. It also marks the official start of summer.


The government’s annual Memorial Day program, which is usually held in conjunction with a service at the Satala cemetery, will be held at two separate sites.


In the Bay Area, Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga and other officials will board an ASG boat around 8:30a.m. heading out to the mouth of the harbor, just off the village of Lauli’i for the service at sea, that includes a 21-gun salute and laying wreaths in the ocean.


Thereafter, the delegation returns to land for the mini church service at the Satala cemetery.


The other ceremony is set to begin at 9a.m. at  the American Samoa Armed Forces Memorial Building at the Tafuna Industrial Park where Lt. Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga, a military retiree, will head the government delegation. Lemanu will also deliver a special Memorial Day address and lay wreaths at the monument honoring our fallen soldiers.


Many local residents use the Memorial weekend to clean and decorate gravesites island-wide. By Monday morning, flowers — fresh and plastic — along with other decorations will adorn the island’s freshly painted and cleaned graves.


A common sight throughout the territory on this day will be U.S. and American Samoa flags paying tribute to our fallen soldiers. Originally held in commemoration of soldiers killed in the American Civil War (1868), the observance of Memorial Day later extended to all U.S. service men and women who died in war.


National observance of Memorial Day is marked by the U.S. president placing a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.


Here in the Territory, federal and local government offices will close on Monday, including the US Post Office. The two private financial institutions and the majority of local businesses will also close. StarKist Samoa will also shut down production on Monday.


Open Monday will be ACE American Industries for their traditional Memorial Weekend Sale and raffle.


Lolo has already declared Monday a government holiday and all employees required to work will be paid in accordance with laws and regulations.


Because of the long weekend, flights on the inter Samoa route are full. Polynesian Airlines says it operated six flights Friday, while three to four flights for Inter Island Airways. Samoa Air is operating two flights—one for Fagali’i on Upolu and the other for Maota on Savai’i.


A spokesperson for Samoa Air says they have a lot of cargo being moved due to its current low rate on cargo.


All three airlines confirmed that they will also be operating full flights from Samoa on Monday, which is Tuesday in Samoa, to bring back returning passengers.