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Monday holiday marks 108 years under U.S. flag for Manu’a

American Samoa will mark next Monday 108 years since the Manu’a island group was ceded to the United States and became part of American Samoa, but no ceremony is scheduled to be held in Manu’a this year.

Deputy Secretary of Samoan Affairs, Nanai Afuola announced on KVZK-TV Wednesday night that due to transportation problems, there will be no ceremony in Manu’a, however a church service marking Manu’a Cession Day will be held this Sunday and Lt. Gov. Faoa Aitofele Sunia, who is also the acting governor — will deliver special remarks.

The governor’s office confirmed yesterday that no ceremony or festivities will be held in Manu’a and the church service is set for 3 p.m. Sunday at the Governor Rex Lee Auditorium. All branches of  government — including the Fono — have been invited, along with the public. The service will be led by Rev. Elder Fa’ataape Lavatai, of CCCAS-Tau.

Monday is already declared a territorial government holiday in observance of Manu’a Cession Day and all government offices will be closed. However, a majority of local businesses will remain open, including the banks and federal offices in the territory.

Last year the celebration was held on Ta’u, with a church service followed by the official flag raising, and other activities at Fale’ula malae, which is the usual site for Manu’a Cession Day festivities.

In years past, most of the delegation from Tutuila have departed on the MV Sili for Ta’u island but the MV Sili has been undergoing repairs for about a month on the slipway at the Satala shipyard.

The vessel finally came off the slipway last week but additional time was needed to ready the vessel for service, and it was finally cleared by the U.S. Coast Guard to sail this evening, just in time for Manu’a residents, who are running very low on food supplies and other items.