Flags to be flown at half staff in honor of late Senator Letuligasenoa
Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga has ordered all flags in American Samoa to be flown at half staff for two-days beginning today until sunset tomorrow in honor of the late Sen. Letuligasenoa Soli, who passed away Aug. 3 at his home in Orange County, Calif. He was 81 (not 80, as originally reported by Samoa News earlier this month).
In ordering flags to be flown at half-staff, the governor says this is in “remembrance of Senator Letuligasenoa’s outstanding public service and his dedication to building and leading our beloved territory.”
The governor also authorized the use of the Territorial Flag in the funeral service and ordered the Department of Public Safety present all “appropriate honors and ceremony as authorized by territorial protocol.”
The funeral service will also include being honored by the U.S. Army with the American flag because the late senator is a military retiree.
There will be no state funeral at the Fono Guest Fale. Senate President Gaoteote Tofau Palaie explained the Fono compound is always open for the services of any member of the Senate or House, but the final decision rests with the family.
The late senator’s body returned to the territory last Friday evening with funeral services set to begin at 9:30a.m today a the Iliili Congregational Christian Church of American Samoa. The service will be attended by lawmakers, Governor Lolo, as well as traditional and government leaders.
During the service, the Fono will also present to the family a Senate Concurrent Resolution, which conveys the deepest condolences of the Fono and the people of American Samoa to the Letuligasenoa family on the passing of the late senator.
The resolution also pays tribute to Letuligasenoa’s “dedicated and consummate service to his family, village, district and the people of American Samoa.”
Letuligasenoa “captured the hearts of everyone he encountered with his peaceful and humble demeanor but most notably, his smile,” according to the resolution, which outlines his educational background, his 22-years of service in the U.S. Navy when he retired, and his service to his family, church and village.
The senator is survived by six children, 12 grandchildren and two great grandchildren. His wife of 50 years passed away in 2007, according to the resolution.
Mary Letuligasenoa-Savali said her grandfather had traveled to Orange County for both Senate and medically related issues. He went for his regular series of checkups with the medical team which he had been using for years, she said.
“The doctors called for a blood test at which point they had detected cancer. The Senator had chosen not to move forward with treatment of the cancer such as undergoing biopsies or radiation,” she said. “Such treatment would entail a series of painful procedures with unknown chances of success. Instead, he opted to be at his home with his family as opposed to a hospital.”
Mary, who is also the Secretary to the President of the Senate, said, “In his last days, [he] was looking forward to be with our Lord Jesus Christ. During this time, he had expressed his love for the Samoan people and always prayed for prosperity and blessings over them as a community. As he lay in his bed, he daily asked for updates pertaining to the activities and issues of the Senate so that he knew what to pray for.”