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Dear Editor,

I was watching the Toa o Samoa Church service held at the Malealoa Methodist Church, in Malaeloa online. There was a beautiful Faaevagalia by the Malaeloa Methodist youth, which was geared towards the hardships parents and loved ones have to deal with when losing a member of their family who served in the Armed forces.

I want to personally thank the Marist St. Joseph’s Old Boys Association for your continuous efforts in organizing these monthly services. Thank you for keeping your Toa o Samoa and all of the Service Members in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you for keeping your TOA o SAMOA alive and empowered through prayers remembering the Fallen Heroes of Samoa in your Monthly services. They are the TRUE Heroes who have given the ultimate sacrifice. They are the reason why we are here, and the inspiration why many of the Sons and Daughters of Samoa have volunteered their lives to fight, protect, and defend— To walk in the footsteps of the Greatest Warriors; To follow the paths they have tread in pursuing happiness for all. 

Thank you also to all the Congregations, the Ministers, Reverends, and Pastors of each Church in the villages for hosting these monthly services. It means a great deal to us, to our families and to our friends to have a place to fellowship and share the burden of having a loved one in the armed forces not knowing what the future will bring. 

As a Service member, it comforts me knowing that I have the prayers of my Church leaders, Church members, friends and family with me. These monthly services are great reminders for us to be all we can be in representing our Island, our families and most importantly our service to God. Thank you for your continued support towards your Tama fanau.

This said, I was saddened when the time came during the service for a representative of the Government to speak and no one was there. Not the Governor, Lt. Governor, Chief of Staff, not even a Cabinet Director. No Fono Member, not even a judge; three branches of government and not one representative. Not even a Faipule or a senator.

Then a representative of the Military was asked to come up and speak on behalf of the Armed Forces. No one stood up. No one from the Veterans Affairs office, a Ret. soldier, or an active soldier. Just complete silence.

The service then continued on with a representative of the Marist old boys coming up to speak.

I have asked around and was told this is not the first time this has happened.

I can understand if the Gov, or Lt. Gov had engagements where they could not attend, but would it be too hard to assign someone on the 4th Sunday of every month to represent the Gov’t? To have a representative of the Veterans Affairs office attend as a representative of all of us Soldiers in the military to convey our gratitude to the hosting churches and the Marist St. Joseph’s Old Boys Association for the perseverance in continuing the prayers services for our well being? For the comfort it brings to our families and friends?

“Tatou feiloa’i pea i Talosaga” This is our strength, our comfort, our push to be all we can be when we see, hear and feel the comfort of our island peoples prayers for us.

Please our Leaders, Tama o le Atunu’u, our people. Please we need these prayer services. We need to know that as God has not forsaken us, you our beloved American Samoa leaders and people have not forsaken us also. Especially since the services are seen around the globe via social media.

A fai ua i ai se upu ua sala, pe pa’ovale faamagalo le auauna. Ua na’o se fa’amalosi ‘au Samoa o lo’o mana’omia pea a outou talosaga.

SPC Arrianna Princess Auvaa