The 65th Anniversary of the US Marines landing on Guadalcanal
65 years ago, the US Marines landed
on the beaches of Guadalcanal where we live. Today we had a service at the US War Memorial. Present were the Prime Minister, Governor General, members of the diplomatic corps, a US Marine Brigadier General, a US Marine Band and US Coastguard. There were also WWII vets who have returned to visit Guadalcanal.
Sarah and her school mates held US and Solomon Islands flags at the entrance of the War Memorial as people came in.
Emily presented a speech – an American school girl’s point of view on World War II and how it has affected her life; she was born in a free Philippines and lives in the Solomon Islands. She did an awesome job! The Brigadier General told Emily afterward that he’s a Marine and doesn’t easily get choked up, but hearing Emily’s speech brought tears to his eyes. Many came to Emily afterward and congratulated her.
Emily and Sarah with the US Ambassador to the Solomon Islands, Leslie Rowe. They are sitting at the base of the memorial where the wreaths were laid.
After the War Memorial, we attended a second service to honor a Solomon Islander who played an important part in World War II as a scout for the American soldiers. Then we went on to the Yacht Club where there was a service for a Coastguard soldier who lost his life helping to evacuate some 500 soldiers who were trapped by the Japanese. Through his efforts 500 soldiers escaped by sea off the beach where we sat this morning.
After the service we spoke to a Solomon Islander who was also a scout during the war. He told us how he and two others were being held by 20 Japanese soldiers. One of the soldiers was always pointing a gun toward them. Then after 3 days all the soldiers were asleep and the 3 Solomon Islanders found that the rope with which their hands were tied just fell off their wrists. They ran away from the Japanese and back to help the Americans.
I’m glad to see that one of the pivotal battles of World War II is not forgotten! Guadalcanal was the first land victory of the Pacific War, against an enemy that seemed unstoppable. It sounds like Emily’s speech expressed gratitude for the sacrifices that were made by the Marines and Navy to keep that part of the Pacific from being overrun, and start the long process of liberating those areas that were already occupied. Could you post all or some of her speech?
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