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Am Samoa welcomes the holiday season thankful for our many blessings

Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga and First Lady, Ella Perefoti Mauga

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — American Samoa joins the rest of the U.S and Americans around the world tomorrow in celebration of Thanksgiving Day — a federal and public holiday, as many in the nation are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic for the second year in a row.

“Thanksgiving Day is a time to give thanks for the many blessings that we enjoy,” said Gov. Lemanu Peleti Palepoi Sialega Mauga in a Nov. 19th memorandum declaring Nov. 25th Thanksgiving Day, a holiday in American Samoa.

“I encourage you all to take time to appreciate your families and loved ones and reflect on all that you are grateful for,” the governor said and noted that all ASG offices will be closed for Thanksgiving day.

In her Thanksgiving statement yesterday, Congresswoman Uifa’atali Amata said: “Every year, we have many reasons to give thanks. This year, as we celebrate Thanksgiving, it is a special blessing that our islands have not faced a widespread outbreak of the virus on our shores.”

“At this same time just last year, a vaccine for Covid-19 had only been announced, but not yet widely manufactured or distributed. Many of our people were unable to return home,” she said.  “Travel and business and even sports seasons were limited.”

“A year later, we can be thankful that much has changed, some travel options have slowly resumed, at least some sense of normalcy has been regained, and many of our people are vaccinated — the best way to avoid hospitalization, severe symptoms, or death in the event of catching this virus,” she points out.

“While we look to God to truly sustain us, we can be thankful that American Samoa has been included in federal support and ongoing legislation, providing record funding, and leading to lasting improvements for infrastructure,” she said.

“Finally, every Thanksgiving, we cherish what matters to us most, the people in our lives. God bless each of you, and our beautiful islands! Have a happy Thanksgiving!”

In the territory, many local residents are marking Thanksgiving with prayers and celebrations through gatherings with families and friends, as well as religious traditions. They are also keeping in mind the deadly virus as local residents are urged to get vaccinated if they have not done so — with the 90% or  more vaccination goal still to be achieved.

Sons and daughters of American Samoa serving in the US Armed Forces around the world are in the minds and hearts of their families and loved ones at home as they gather to celebrate Thanksgiving, which, according to historians, was first celebrated by early Pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World in 1621.  It was a three-day feast. George Washington proclaimed the first National Day of Thanksgiving in 1789, and Abraham Lincoln revived the tradition during the Civil War.

Besides ASG offices, the majority of local businesses are closed tomorrow, including all federal offices, the U.S. Post Office, and the local banks.

At StarKist Samoa, there will be no production on Thanksgiving day and Friday and production will resume on Monday, Nov. 29th, according to StarKist Inc., corporate spokesperson Michelle Faist, responding to Samoa News queries.

Most businesses will resume operations on Friday, including the Post Office, with stores holding their Black Friday sales — American Samoa style — opening their doors between 5a.m.- 6a.m. (See Samoa News today for various advertisements on Black Friday in American Samoa.)

As has been the norm in the last few years, congested traffic is expected — early in the morning — around Malaeimi during the annual Neil’s ACE Home Center Black Friday event and in front of Laufou Shopping Center.

There are also some pre-Thanksgiving events today on island, such as the Agency for Better Living Endeavors (A.B.L.E)  Turkey Run/Walk as well as other fun stuff at Su'igaula Utulei Beach Park.

Additionally, the Leone High School turkey run got underway early this morning. Tomorrow a few organizations are having festive events. And what’s a holiday without “Bingo” as Samoa News confirmed at least two church organizations with bingo games tomorrow afternoon.

Because of the holiday, police presence will increase island-wide and motorists are reminded not to drink and drive.

Thanksgiving officially kicks off the holiday season, and tomorrow is the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, with increased security, and full compliance with COVID-19 restrictions.

Friday is also Black Friday across the US, although many major US outlets have started their Black Friday sales online beginning late last week. Some retailers in the territory started their Black Friday sale on Monday this week.

In observation of Thanksgiving Day 2021, Samoa News will not publish tomorrow and returns on Friday, Nov. 26th.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving American Samoa, from the management and staff of Samoa News, wishing all a safe holiday and keep in mind the local COVID-19 protocol. Also please get your COVID-19 vaccination if you haven’t done so, in order for “all of us to be protected” from the deadly pandemic.