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By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (December 30, 1999 – Samoa News)---Vatia Village will celebrate the new millennium by erecting, among other things, a monument on which will be listed the name of each Vatia villager who is alive on January 1, 2000.

The village intends to break ground for the monument at 8:00 a.m. Saturday morning. HTC Lauti Simone and HTC Afuola Kalasa are the co-chairmen of this event for the village.

According to Lauti, the idea of the monument was suggested by one of the village chiefs to mark the passage from one millennium to another.

"We look back and be grateful to God for our lives," Lauti reflected. "We also wanted to show our appreciation to our forefathers for their contributions to our lives at this moment in time."

The cost of building the monument is not yet available. But that has not stopped Vatia from actively fundraising for the project.

If all goes according to plan, the monument should be completed in "three months at the most," Lauti told Samoa News.

In the meantime, the groundbreaking ceremony follows a week-long series of non-denominational church services that included one day of fasting. The church services began last Monday and involved the village's five Christian denominations.

The last church service is scheduled for Friday evening and will be celebrated by the CCCAS-Vatia. However, prior to the service, all roads to and from Vatia will be closed at 4:00 p.m. and no one will be allowed in or out of the village, especially during the church service.

"We ask that the public recognize this special occasion for us," HTC Lauti said, adding that the road closure will be enforced by the village aumaga.

After the New Year's Eve church service, church youth groups of the village will provide spiritual performances (skits, songs, praisings) that would take everyone into the sunrise, a new morning and new beginning for Vatia that would lead up to the ground breaking for the millennium monument.

A traditional ava ceremony follows the groundbreaking ceremony before the village is reopened at noon on Saturday.

"Its a day of thanksgiving as we reach this milestone in our lives," Lauti explained. "This is a very important time in our lives where we have witness the ending of one century and welcoming the beginning of a new one."

Items from the SAMOA NEWS, American Samoa's daily newspaper, may not be republished without permission. To contact the publisher, send e-mail to

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