Annual Memorial Day wreath ceremony held to honor the fallen
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — “Today, we pause in solemn remembrance and reflect on the legacy of all those who have fought and made the ultimate sacrifice.”
With little fanfare, and seemingly more of a private military-government affair, on May 29, 2023, American Samoa officially celebrated Memorial Day with wreath presentations at four sites on island, planned by the Office of Veteran’s Affairs under the leadership of Director Paepaetele Mapu Jamias.
The four sites are considered to be the traditional places of remembrances for American Samoa on Memorial Day — the Satala Graveyard, at sea, the Utulei Tramway, and the Veterans’ Memorial Monument at the Sen. Daniel Innouye Industrial Park.
(Samoa News should point out that Sen. Innouye was a veteran of World War II and was seriously wounded in Italy in 1945, and his injuries necessitated the amputation of his right arm. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and several other honors as well as a promotion to captain.)
According to a press release from the government, “Memorial Day is a day of national remembrance born of compassion and empathy in honor of every patriot who courageously made the ultimate sacrifice to safeguard our way of life.”
The laying of the wreaths began with the Lt Governor Talauega Ale and Mrs. Marian Ale on the MV Manu’atele at 6:30am, while simultaneously, Gov. Lemanu P. S. Mauga arrived at the Satala Cemetery.
The third wreath was laid by the governor, at the Tramway, remembering those who perished during the tragic US Navy plane crash in 1980.
The fourth and final wreath presentation concluded with a ceremony at the Veteran’s Memorial Monument in Tafuna. Opening remarks were presented by SFC Fa’afetai Lauti, while the invocation and benediction was offered by the Governor’s Chaplain Rev. Mageo Patolo Mageo. Hymn selections were sung by the Office of the Governor’s Special Choir.
Governor Lemanu in his Memorial Day address noted that “countless unsung heroes have left a lasting impact on the history of our Nation.
“Their sacrifices serve as a living example of the cost of freedom.”
He continued, “Today, we pause in solemn remembrance and reflect on the legacy of all those who have fought and made the ultimate sacrifice. In no way can we ever repay the debt we owe to those who cannot be here with us today. Today, we also remember the families of those who have passed as they continue to keep their memories alive.”