Kwajalein’s 77th Memorial Day was a hit. The day started with a parade with the Kwajalein High School marching band playing from the Ebeye dock. The policed marched along with all the officials.
Kwajalein High School band did a great job kicking up excitement. The motto for this year’s event was “Akbel jen wa,” which translated by Kwajalein Nitijela Member David Paul in his remarks as, “before, during and after any voyage, the captain and the crew members must continue to assess the condition of their voyage whether it be the canoe or several of the canoes that are apart of the fleet and eliminate what is contributing to the determent of the entire voyage.”
Master of ceremony Ronnie Jibbwa livened up the crowd with his announcements. Reverend Lawson Matauto did the invocation.
Iroojlaplap Mike Kabua brought in the welcome for all the guests. He chanted a few Marshallese roro and gave a riddle for the audience to solve in five seconds for the prize of $50. Unfortunately no one was able to guess the answer but it brought a lot of comment when Iroojlaplap Mike provided the answer. He encouraged everyone to keep safe from Covid and encourage those who have not gotten the vaccine to get it.
Mayor Hirata Kabua gave a special thanks to Army Col. Jeremy Bartell who will be leaving in June. He also encouraged more people to get the Covid shot. He also mentioned the accident involving one of the canoe racers, Itilang Jacob, the previous day and said prayers go out to him. He expressed appreciation to all the guests for coming to join the event.
US Ambassador Roxanne Cabral confidently spoke in Marshallese. “Today we honor those who fought and sacrificed for their freedom to protect their homeland. Our gratitude, admiration, and respect” to them. Cabral said the friendship between Marshall Islands and United States is very strong. “America will try and help RMI with every step to move forward with the Compact of Free Association,” Cabral said in the Marshallese with prefect pronunciation.