CNMI joins nation in Memorial Day rites, commemorations


Torres is seen signing the two proclamations last Wednesday declaring May as Military Service Appreciation Month and May 23 to 30 as CNMI Memorial Week. (LEIGH GASES)

The Commonwealth joins the rest of the nation today in celebrating Memorial Day, which honors U.S. military personnel who have died while serving in the United States armed forces. In line with this, all military members, families, and the public are being invited today to the Memorial Day celebration at the Veterans Cemetery in Marpi at 9am.

As part of the ceremony, the U.S. Marine Corps will conduct a flyover today, starting at 10am in Guam and 10:45am on Saipan. Four F/A-18 Hornets assigned to the Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 533 will fly from south to north starting in Agat and pass over the Guam Veterans Cemetery at 10am and will continue on to Saipan where it will pass over the Veterans Cemetery at 10:45am.

Last Wednesday, in recognition of the service of all active-duty and honorably discharged members of the U.S. military, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres signed a proclamation recognizing May as Military Service Appreciation Month and May 23 to 30 as CNMI Memorial Week.

The proclamation signing was witnessed by Office of Veterans Affairs staff, Commonwealth Office of Transit Authority staff, Department of Public Works staff, and Department of Corrections staff.

In the proclamation, Torres said Memorial Week will be observed “as a week of prayer for permanent peace and paying tribute to our fallen veterans for their unselfish, dedicated service in defending our country.”

He also calls upon everyone to “observe this week with appropriate ceremonies and activities in support and honor of our troops, veterans, and their families all over the world. I also encourage our fellow citizens to observe the month in a symbol of unity for the current and former members U.S armed forces, including those who have died in the protection of our freedoms.
Stanly Iakopo, executive director of the Office of Veterans Affairs, who has served in the U.S Air Force in several capacities, thanked the governor for signing the proclamations.

“We just wanted to express our gratitude for taking the time and also allowing this moment—a momentous day for us to be here and to carry out the proclamation. …For our fallen heroes and for those who have sacrificed for our freedom, thank you. …Without those who had laid down their lives for us, they’re pretty much why we’re here. They’re the main reason why we’re free. And that’s why this is a special and important thing.”

Leigh Gases
Leigh Gases is the youngest reporter of Saipan Tribune and primarily covers community related news, but she also handles the utilities, education, municipal, and veterans beats. Contact Leigh at

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