American Samoa Delegate Aumua Amata (R-A Samoa) released the following Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day statement last Friday in honor of all who served:
“This day in 1941 changed the course of our nation’s history. The naval base at Pearl Harbor and the airfields on Oahu were suddenly attacked by Japanese forces, bringing the United States into World War II. Each year on Dec. 7, we pause to remember those who sacrificed all, those who responded with great bravery in the chaos, and the eventual worldwide advancement of the cause of freedom and peace that resulted from the Allied victory.
“Anyone who has walked the heritage trail on Tutuila can see evidence of American Samoa’s World War II history that included batteries on Blunt’s Point and Breaker’s Point. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, American Samoa’s defenses were increased, and our island hosted a much larger presence of Marines and naval forces.
“Tali P.T. Coleman is part of American Samoa’s tradition of service. During the attack on Pearl Harbor, he was stationed on Oahu at Schofield Barracks. His jeep was strafed as he was headed for his place of duty, and he is listed as a survivor of the attack. He went on to serve throughout the war in the Pacific, including Guadalcanal, retiring as captain, and becoming our first elected governor. He represents our islands as the only American Samoan inducted into the Army Infantry Hall of Fame at Fort Benning, Georgia.
“In all the wars and conflicts since World War II, many of our people have served and distinguished themselves. All these years later, our people still enlist and serve proudly in great numbers, with the highest Army enlistment rate per capita in the nation. God bless our veterans and their families.”