Thursday, August 30, 2012

Guadalcanal Battle: 70th Anniversary

On August 7, the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Guadalcanal was commemorated in Honiara.  We were invited to be part of the festivities by Keithie Saunders, the US consular agent.  We arrived at the US Memorial as the sun was coming up.  It was beautiful!

Many branches of the military were represented.  It was a very patriotic day.  We were so honored to be part of this solemn occasion to honor those who fought and died here on Guadalcanal in WWII. 

Our invitation indicated that those who wished, were welcome to lay a wreath during the ceremony.  We decided to use some of Public Affairs budget to purchase a wreath and Cheryle and I layed it in memory of the LDS servicemen who were here during the battle 70 years ago.

The Marine band played during the commemoration. 

One of the few Solomon Island Scouts still alive, who attended the ceremony.

Teddy Taylor, the US Ambassador to Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands.

Many of the military spoke about the battles that occurred all around the memorial site and near our house which is just 1 1/2 miles behind the speaker.

John Innes is the foremost authority on the history of the battles here on Guadalcanal that began on the 7th of August 1942 and lasted until the end of January 1943.

One of the living Solomon Island Scouts being recognized for his service in the War


Laying of the wreaths.

The two LDS servicemen who were here to participate in the commemoration.  Adam Olson of the Coast Guard and Victor Norris the saxophone player in the Marine Band.  These two fine young men came up to us after seeing our missionary tags and independently told us they were members of the Church.  What an honor for us to meet fine young priesthood holders serving our country so faithfully.

Ken shaking hands with the only surviving serviceman from the battle of Guadalcanal that attended the ceremony.  His ship was sunk in one of the naval battles and after hanging on to a board to keep afloat for 5 hours he was rescued.  He was then assigned to roll 45 gallon drums of gasoline from the ocean to the airport for the next 13 days.  (a distance of about a mile)

Solomon Island Scouts

This Scout is 101 years old

Scout who helped rescue Pres. John F. Kennedy
close to Gizo

Prime Minister Gordon Lilo helping Solomon Island Scout to his seat.

A little later in the day we attended another ceremony at the Solomon Island Scout monument on Commonwealth Avenue at Pointe Cruise.  Unveiled was a list of names of the Solomon Island Scouts (native Solomon Islanders) and Coast Watchers who served behind the lines during the battles.

Still later in the morning we attended the dedication of a plaque honoring Douglas Munro.  He was a Coast Gaurdsman who was killed in the battle for Guadalcanal.  Our new friend and LDS Coast Guardsman, Adam Olson, gave the dedicatory speach at the Yacht Club where the plaque is located.

We were honored to have our picture taken with these brave Solomon Island Scouts

What a great day we enjoyed on the 70th year commoration of the Battle of Guadalcanal

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