On 1 June 2023, Presidents’ Day was commemorated in Angaur and Peleliu with an atmosphere of both solemnity and friendliness. Two police patrol boats carried more than 20 passengers from the Marine Law dock, including Honorable J. Uduch Sengebau Senior, Vice President and Minister of Justice, Honorable Steven Victor, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and the Environment, and also family members of the late Presidents Remeliik and Salii. On this trip were also government staff representing the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Human Resource, Culture, Tourism and Development and Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Environment. The families of late President Nakamura travelled in a separate boat directly to Peleliu.
Arriving first in Angaur, the guests were treated to a lovely singing performance accompanied on the guitar by the Angaur Evangelical Church. The Palauan flag was duly raised, and Deacon Fernando Takeshi then began the proceedings with an opening prayer.
This was followed by opening remarks by the Honorable Steven Salii, Governor of Angaur State, who thanked the government officials who took the time to come to Angaur for this important day and for joining the people of Angaur in honoring the legacy and outstanding service of late President Lazarus Eitaro Salii.
Students of Angaur Elementary School then presented the life and achievements of the late President Lazarus Eitaro Salii, covering his early educational attainments and journey to becoming the second elected President of Palau. Special acknowledgment was made of the late President’s relatives attending the event including his daughter the Honorable Justice Kathleen Salii.
Then, standing in for President Whipps, Minister Steven Victor delivered the Presidential Remarks to an audience of about 50 people. Minister Victor thanked the late President’s family and the people of Angaur for allowing such an honorable and humble man to serve as our President. Minister Victor praised President Salii for his persistent efforts to ensure Palauans enjoyed then, and unto this day, individual freedoms, democracy and peace. Minister Victor acknowledged that President Salii’s legacy continues to be remembered and admired as we pay tribute to him on this Presidents’ Day, and he finished by encouraging the children of Angaur to aspire to be future leaders.
Afterwards, wreaths were laid on the grave of the late President Salii.
The group then resumed their travels to Peleliu, and the commemorations continued beside the graves of the late President Haruo Remeliik, President Kuniwo Nakamura, and the late first Chief Justice Mamoru Nakamura. The event was opened with a beautiful choral performance by the Peleliu Evangelical Church Choir. Pastor Mathias Smau then provided an opening prayer.
The Honorable Doctor Emais Roberts, Governor of Peleliu, welcomed everyone to the ceremony, especially the family members of late President Remeliik and President Nakamura. Governor Dr. Roberts expressed his gratitude to the Government leaders, families of the late Presidents and the people of Peleliu for honoring this special day and paying tribute to late President Remeliik, late President Nakamura as well as the late Chief Justice Nakamura. Governor Roberts encouraged everyone to recognize the legacies that our great Presidents’ have enabled for us and the hope for our children and everyone to set the same legacy for the people of Palau.
Selected students from Peleliu Elementary School then presented the biographies of former Presidents Remeliik and Nakamura, emphasizing their great achievements on behalf of the people of Palau.
Honorable Vice President Uduch Sengebau Senior delivered the Presidential Remarks by wishing everyone a Happy Presidents’ Day, and by especially acknowledging the family members of late President Remeliik and late President Nakamura attending in the audience and the people of Peleliu for their continued respect and honor towards these distinguished Presidents and first Chief Justice of Palau Chief Justice Nakamura. Vice President Senior also highlighted the importance of their legacies in ensuring democracy, individual human rights, freedom and love for the people of Peleliu and for the people of Palau. Madam VP ended her remarks by restating the last sentence of the Preamble of our Constitution which states “we venture into the future with full reliance on our efforts and the divine guidance of Almighty God.”
Pastor Mathias Smau provided the closing prayer, before wreaths and flowers were laid on the two late Presidents’ graves.
After the ceremony, the guests were treated to a delicious lunch of locally caught fish and crabs before returning to Koror.