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Memorial Day wreaths laid to honor U.S. military members lost in war

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Wreaths were laid in four different places yesterday morning in remembrance of 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.

Prayers were also offered for the loved ones they left behind and for the safety of those who are fighting in defense of freedom and peace today.

Lt. Gov. Talauega Eleasalo Ale and VA Officer Mrs Rosie Fualaau Lancaster led the four wreath laying ceremonies organized by the Office of Veteran Affairs and the Governor’s office.

Military retirees, some dressed in uniform were also present, along with family members and other government officials including police officers

The first ceremony was held at the Satala cemetery at 5:30 a.m where Talauega and Lancaster laid a wreath in honor to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

The second wreath was laid at the tramway at the monument to the service men who were killed when their aircraft crashed on the beach wing of the Rainmaker Hotel during a parachute jump in 1980.

Around 6:30 a.m the police patrol boat headed out to the harbor where the third wreath was laid by Talauega in remembrance of those whose lives were lost at sea.

Lt. Gov. Talauega Eleasalo Ale casts a wreath into the sea in honor of all military men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice during a brief ceremony outside the harbor on the police patrol boat early yesterday morning. [photo by AF]

Rev. Mageo Patolo Mageo led the ceremony with a short word from the scripture and a prayer.

Talauega gave remarks in place of Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga. The governor is retired military after more than 20 years of service — US Army.

The Lt Governor said Memorial Day is a difficult day for those who lost loved ones while in service to their country.

He said parents, children and spouses will think of their family members who have departed from this earth and ponder on what could have been.

On behalf of the governor and people of American Samoa Talauega paid tribute and thanked them and their families for their sacrifices.

He also remembered active duty men and women and asked for prayers for their safety so they can be reunited with their families.

Members of the VA office assisted Talauega in laying the final wreath at the Memorial Monument. At each site a moment of silence was observed while veteran Vaaelua Asosi Apigi playing taps.

Veteran Vaaelua Asosi Apini playing taps in front of the Veterans Memorial Monument in Tafuna during a ceremony honoring all military men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice. [photo by AF]