AMBASSADOR RILEY:  Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.  I would like to welcome everyone, and thank you for participating in this solemn occasion with the Honorable U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Mrs. Pompeo, who is joined by His Excellency FSM President David Panuelo, and the first lady, to pay respects to the 10 fallen Micronesian soldiers and guardsmen whose photos adorn these walls.  This represents an historic moment in our unique and special relationship.

Before we move on, I’d like to recognize the presence of the following FSM officials: His Excellency President David W. Panuelo; the first lady Patricia Edwin; Vice President Yosiwo George; Secretary Lorin Robert, representing the Department of Foreign Affairs; Ambassador Akillino Susaia, FSM representative in Washington, D.C.; Speaker Wesley Simina and Mrs. Simina; other members of the FSM national congress; Governor Marcelo Peterson and Lieutenant Governor Reed Oliver, both from Pohnpei State.

Without further delay, it gives me great honor to introduce President Panuelo and Secretary Pompeo, who will each provide special remarks.

President David Panuelo.

PRESIDENT PANUELO:  Thank you, Ambassador Riley.  On a solemn occasion like this, it really does – touches our heart here in the Federated States of Micronesia.  On behalf of the Federated States of Micronesia and its people, we welcome you, Secretary Pompeo and Mrs. Pompeo.  Thank you for visiting us.

Since I was sworn just the month of May – May 11th, I had the opportunity and the privilege of joining solemn occasions like this, the first one being in Washington, D.C., at the Arlington Cemetery, and I did share how emotional that felt because we were respecting the fallen soldiers of not only the United States, but we also know that for the young men and women of the Federated States of Micronesia.

After that I was also joined with Ambassador Riley during the laying of the wreath during the Fourth of July event.  And then more recently, Secretary Wilkie, during his visit to join the joint inaugural ceremonies here, which we were very proud of and grateful for.  We also joined him on – joined Secretary Wilkie in respecting another fallen soldier of both the Federated States of Micronesia and the United States of America.

And today, Secretary Pompeo, I am very pleased and honored that you have visited our island, an historic visit to talk about important bilateral issues between the United States and the Federated States of Micronesia and our Freely Associated States’ leaders.  And today I’m so honored to join you, Secretary, in honoring the dead fallen soldiers of the Federated States of Micronesia.  Today I thank you, Secretary.  I thank all the veterans and their Gold Star families for giving the ultimate sacrifice to fight for freedom and peace in the Federated States, in the United States, and throughout the world.

So today, on behalf of our country, we thank you that we join you on this historic visit and during this solemn occasion.  I thank you so much, Secretary, for this opportunity.

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Thank you, President Panuelo and First Lady.  Thank you for hosting us.  And we’re thankful for the opportunity to commemorate the sons and daughters of Micronesia who served in the United States armed forces and who paid the ultimate price.  Many of your citizens join our young men and women in putting their lives at risk on behalf of freedom and democracy around the world, and America appreciates their willingness to serve on our nation’s behalf.

Today we all have the privilege of honoring 10 heroes, 10 veterans of the United States of America, of the Federated States of Micronesia, citizens representing all four states in Micronesia, who have died in combat while serving in the United States armed forces.  I was once a soldier myself, but I’m here today as America’s Secretary of State representing the American people to say how much we appreciate and respect their service in our armed forces.  We are proud to honor these 10 very brave and dedicated young soldiers.  The American people are intensely and forever grateful for their sacrifices to defend and advance freedom and unalienable rights all across the world.  Thank you.

AMBASSADOR RILEY:  Ladies and gentlemen, President Panuelo and Secretary Pompeo will now lay the wreaths in remembrance of our soldiers and guardsmen to honor their ultimate sacrifice.  They will be assisted by United States Marine Corps Lt. Col. Aaron Richter and Lt. Col. Brian Shabacher.

(The wreaths were laid.)

Ladies and gentlemen, let us remember the fallen with a moment of silence.

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