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A day to recognize the valor and sacrifice of our veterans

The American Samoa Government is hosting its annual Veterans Day ceremony on Monday at the Veterans Memorial Stadium in Tafuna where Gov. Togiola Tulafono will deliver his last Veterans Day address as chief executive of the territory.

Veterans Day is commemorated each year on Nov. 11 and this year, it falls on a Sunday. This past week, the governor issued a memorandum declaring Monday, Nov. 12, a holiday in the territory in observance of Veterans Day.

In his Veterans Day proclamation, the governor recalled that 236 years ago, the signers of the Declaration of Independence declared, “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

“One hundred and twelve years ago, our own Samoan leaders subscribed to the Principles of American independence and democracy,” the governor said. “...throughout the course of our joint history, courageous men and women have taken up arms to secure, defend and maintain these core principles upon which our Nation’s freedom depend.”

“Following in the steps of fellow Americans and American Samoans in years past, American Samoans continue to courageously step forward to join the ranks that defend our land and are now fighting overseas to defend against terrorism.”

“, American Samoans continue to serve our country in these perilous times of terrorism and war,” he said. “On Veterans Day, let us pause to reflect on the sacrifices of all those who have put on the uniform to serve in the United States military.”

The governor urged all residents to “recognize the valor and sacrifice of our veterans through appropriate public ceremonies and private prayers” and called on territorial and local officials to display the flag of the United States on Veterans Day.

In his Veterans Day proclamation, U.S. President Barack Obama said, “our veterans are part of an unbroken chain of men and women who have served our country with honor and distinction.” And on Veterans Day, “we show them our deepest thanks,” according to the proclamation released by the White House. 

“Our men and women in uniform have taught us about strength, duty, devotion, resolve—cornerstones of a commitment to protect and defend that has kept our country safe for over 200 years,” said Obama.  “In war and in peace, their service has been selfless and their accomplishments have been extraordinary.”

Togiola’s proclamation will be read Monday during the territorial government’s Veterans Day program honoring veterans from all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Rev. Liu Tofili of the CCCAS Fagamalo delivering the invocation and benediction.

Deputy secretary of Samoan Affairs, Nanai K. Afuola, a U.S. Marine Corps. retiree, will be the master of ceremonies and the governor will deliver his annual Veterans Day address. Togiola is expected to be presented with honors as his final term in office will officially end just before 12noon Jan. 3, 2013.

Swing choirs participating in Monday’s ceremony— which includes a 21 Gun Salute and playing of Taps—are from Leone, Tafuna and Kanana Fou High Schools.

High School JROTC groups as well as members of the local U.S. Army Reserve are among those scheduled to participate in the parade.

Because Monday is a federal holiday, all ASG offices are closed and employees required to work that day will be paid in accordance with applicable laws. A majority of local businesses, including the two private banks will also be closed along with federal offices such as the U.S. Post Office.

A spokesperson for StarKist said Friday that its cannery plant will be working Monday.

Samoa News did not publish on Monday, but will return Tuesday, and wishes all our veterans and the territory a safe and happy holiday.