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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Enhanced US Armed Forces Memorial unveiled today

The Saipan Mayor’s Office will formally present to the public today the improvements on the U.S. Armed Forces Memorial, which is located across Microl Toyota and in front of the Lim Building in Oleai.

While the obelisk-like white memorial and two World War II gun placements are still there, its surroundings have been spruced up with a carefully manicured garden, a water wheel, and 10 flagpoles that fly the flags of the United States, the CNMI, Guam, Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Philippines, Japan, China, South Korea, and Russia.

Saipan Mayor Donald G. Flores said his office has long planned to improve the memorial as part of its island beautification campaign.

He said funding had always been a problem but their prayers were answered when South Korean company P&A and its owner, Hong Hyun Kim, stepped up and offered to foot the bill for the entire project.

Flores said all additions to the memorial have symbolisms tied to them.

“We want to express our appreciation to visitors coming into the island by putting out their nations’ flags. There are a total of 10 flags there. …We also added that water wheel because the flowing of the water represents the flow of tourists to the CNMI,” he said.

Flores’ adviser, Henry Hofschneider, said the upkeep and maintenance of the memorial will be shared by the Saipan Mayor’s Office and P&A.

“We have a memorandum of agreement with them where we will take care of the utilities and maintaining the grass. Repairs would be cost-shared where the Mayor’s Office and P&A will take turns paying for repairs.”

Hofschneider said he is happy that they were able to make improvements that everyone—both residents and tourists alike—will enjoy.

“The place was unkempt so we decided to chop the old flame tree and the old coconut tree there. …The monument is still there and the two artillery pieces are still there, albeit refurbished. It’s a fresh look and maybe in 10 to 15 years we need to give it a different look again.”

The new and improved U.S. Armed Forces Memorial will be “inaugurated” with a flag-raising ceremony at 9am this morning. Flores said that Gov. Eloy S. Inos and other government officials, including 12th Saipan and Northern Islands Municipal Council chair Ramon B. Camacho, have been invited to attend the event.

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