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Schedule set for Monday’s observance of Memorial Day

Through a May 25 executive order, Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga has directed the flag of the United States to be flown at half-staff on May 29 - Memorial Day - until 12noon local time.

The governor’s order is pursuant to US President Donald Trump’s May 24 proclamation for all Americans in states and territories “to honor Memorial Day and the more than one million men and women who have sacrificed their lives as members of the United States Armed Forces.”

“Memorial Day is our Nation’s solemn reminder that freedom is never free,” Trump said in his proclamation and he also proclaimed “Memorial a day of prayer for permanent peace, and I designate the hour beginning in each locality at 11:00 a.m. of that day as a time when people might unite in prayer.”

He also called on the media to help coordinate such events.

“On Memorial Day we honor the final resting places of the more than one million men and women who sacrificed their lives for our Nation, by decorating their graves with the stars and stripes, as generations have done since 1868,” he said.

Back in the territory, American Samoa joins the rest of the nation in 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 is also the official start of the summer. The governor has declared Monday a government holiday.

The government’s annual Memorial Day program will start at 6a.m. with the first event, being the laying of wreaths at the Veterans Memorial Monument at the Tafuna Industrial Park - across the street from ANZ bank, according to information from the ASG Veterans Affairs Office.

Thereafter, VIPs and guests head into town, for the second laying of the wreaths event, at the Satala Cemetery, between 6:30a.m. and 6:45a.m.

After the Satala ceremony, the VIPs and guests will board the ASG vessel MV Manu’atele heading out to the mouth of the harbor, just off the village of Lauli’i for the service at sea that includes the third laying wreaths in the ocean. How far out the ceremony at sea will be, depends on weather conditions.

The National Weather Service Office in Pago Pago is forecasting Monday’s weather to be mostly cloudy with scattered showers. And winds at 15 to 20 mph. A high surf advisory, which went into effect Friday (May 26), will remain until 3p.m. Wednesday (May 31.)

Memorial Day in American Samoa marks the day our community remembers all our loved ones who have passed on, and the Memorial Day weekend activities include cleaning, painting and decorating gravesites island-wide. By Monday morning, flowers — fresh and plastic — along with other decorations will adorn the island’s graves.

A common sight throughout the territory on this day will be U.S. and American Samoa flags flying over many of the gravesites 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 a 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 be closed on Monday, including the US Post Office. The two private financial institutions and the majority of local businesses will also close, including StarKist Samoa as well as Talofa Systems Inc., the can manufacturing plant at Satala.

Some stores will be open Monday for their Memorial Day sales.

In observance of Memorial Day, Samoa News will not publish on Monday but will return on Tuesday.