Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

FSM is Host to 5th Veterans of Foreign Wars Day Celebration

Palikir, POHNPEI (FSM Information Services): November 11, 2008 - Today, the Federated States of Micronesia celebrated the 5th observance of it's newest holiday, Veterans of Foreign Wars Day, in conjunction with the United States commemoration of Veterans Day. This was the first year that the FSM government played host to this event, which had previously been hosted by the US Embassy.

The event was held in the Central Conference Room at the National Government Complex in Palikir and the ceremony was presided over by Jane Chigiyal, Assistant Secretary of FSM Department of Foreign Affairs. In attendance were Vice President Alik Alik, US Ambassador to the FSM, H.E. Miriam K. Hughes, Australian Ambassador Susan Cox, and Acting Governor Churchill Edward, along with veterans, acting service men and women and their friends and family.

Vice President Alik told the crowd that "the government has long realized the valuable contributions that our veterans and active service members have played at home, in our relations with the U.S. and the world at large, especially in the coalition's fight against terrorism." He went on to say that "we are humbled by your sacrifice to leave your family and home.", and "we are also indebted to your families for their own sacrifices."

Vice President also highlighted a significant event in the bilateral relations with the U.S. in the recognition by Insular area governments to "accord more attention to caring for America's military heroes as discussed in the recently concluded Future of Health Care in the Insular Areas at the Leaders' Summit held in Hawaii in September." He stated, "The FSM government will pursue the decisions made at the summit to ensure that our veterans and active duty service members are not left behind."

US Ambassador Hughes then took the podium and gave the history of the US Veterans Day celebration in the US and praised the initiative and partnership of the FSM government for hosting the celebration this year. She recognized veterans as "extraordinary Americans and Micronesians" and told the audience over a live radio broadcast that "the legions of men and women in the Armed Forces, who have worked side by side like family and put their lives on the line for humanity, our Partners in Peace and Progress, have earned our profound respect and gratitude."

Following the remarks by Ambassador Hughes, 1st Sergeant Frank M. Semens, US Army (Ret.) and President of the FSM Veterans Association took the podium but due to laryngitis was unable to offer his speech. He was, however, able to join Acting Governor Churchill Edward in signing an MOU in which Pohnpei State dedicated a state building in Nett to the FSM Veterans Association to use as their headquarters for veterans' activities. Vice President Alik commended Pohnpei State for taking this initiative and has hope that other states will follow their example.

After the closing remarks, Mr. Gary Bloom from the US Embassy was on hand to assist veterans on registering for benefits and to provide other necessary information. Any veterans who were not in attendance should contact Mr. Bloom at the US Embassy and be sure to register for benefits.

For further information on this release, please contact:

FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356