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Remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom

Arlington National Cemetary Memorial Daty 2023
Gov declares Memorial Day, May 29 a government holiday

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Gov. Lemanu P. S. Mauga has declared today, Monday, May 29 as a holiday in American Samoa, for Memorial Day — which is also a federal holiday.

“Memorial Day is a time to commemorate the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our great nation,” the governor said in declaring the holiday.

“I encourage you all to take time this weekend to honor the memory of our fallen heroes who selflessly laid down their lives to protect our freedom. Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication. Have a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend,” Lemanu said.

In a statement issued last Wednesday, honoring Memorial Day, Congresswoman Uifa’atali Amata said that, “I join all Americans and American Samoans in remembering all of the brave US service members that gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country and our values.”

“American Samoans know all too well the burden of these sacrifices. Since we became part of the United States, our Toa o Samoa have fought and died alongside their fellow Americans to protect our way of life,” she said.

“Across our islands, there are dinner tables with empty chairs, family pictures forever incomplete, and children holding on to cherished memories of loved ones who gave what President Lincoln called ‘that last full measure of devotion.’”

“It is in honor of those heroes and their families that Memorial Day exists. This Memorial Day, we remember them and every day we best honor them by living lives worthy of their sacrifice,” she added.

President Joe Biden lauded the sacrifice of generations of U.S. troops who “dared all and gave all” fighting for their country and called on Americans to ensure that their “sacrifice was not in vain” as he marked Memorial Day with the traditional wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

“We must never forget the price that was paid to protect our democracy,” Biden said later in an address at the Memorial Amphitheater. “We must never forget the lives these flags, flowers and marble markers represent.”

”Every year we remember,” he said. “And every year it never gets easier.”

Monday’s federal holiday honoring America’s fallen service members came a day after Biden and Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy reached final agreement on a deal that would raise America’s debt limit and that now awaits approval by Congress.

In American Samoa over the past three years ASG had to scaled back special Memorial Day ceremonies due to COVID-19 restrictions. But there are no more restrictions this year. However, no information was available at press time as to ASG’s planned events for Memorial Day.

In 2022, wreathes were laid in four different places in remembrance of the men and women of the various branches of the US Armed Forces who died in the line of duty in centuries old wars and modern day wars.

The wreathes were organized by the Office of Veteran Affairs and the Governor’s Office. The places where the wreathes were laid, with prayers and a short ceremony included, are: the Satala cemetery, the tramway monument, out at sea, and the Veterans Memorial Monument in Tafuna.

As is the norm for people in the territory, families and others are using the long weekend to clean up and decorate graves of their loved ones, including those who died from world conflicts while serving in the US Armed Forces. Usually flags can be seen flown over the newly painted graves, with family members gathering for a barbecue and drinks to remember their lost ones and those who are still serving.

With the declared holiday, all government offices are closed as are the majority of businesses in the territory including the territory’s largest private employer, StarKist Samoa.

In honor of Memorial Day, Samoa News did not publish on Monday but will return on Tuesday. Have a safe Memorial Day, and may the Lord guide us all in His footsteps.