SAMOAN FLAG DAY 2006 (8/7/06)
Samoan Flag Day means many things to many a Polynesian but in San Francisco the Samoan and Togan community take especial pride to gather at the Crocker Amazon Park as they have for so many decades and joined by so many good children, men, and women of good faith.
The various Churches that participate in this week long festival organize various games such as cricket and rugby with lots of dancing and good food. The parade brings the best in everyone and on that day there is lots of speech making and a forum for the Matais or Chiefs to talk the talk. This time one pastor berated the others and challenged them to help the youth and deal with issues linked to crime, shooting, killing, and drug selling.
The Polynesian Community in San Francisco has contributed a lot more to the Armed Services of this Nation then any single community. More Samoans have died in the service of this Nation and the City and County of San Francisco is fully aware of this magnanimous and supreme sacrifice. I know this having served Sixth U.S. Army and the Presidio of San Francisco.
As the facilitator linked to All Islanders Gathering As One (AIGA1) in San Francisco for the last 3 years - I have attended the annual Flag Day Celebrations and every year the celebration reveal another challenging facet to the Polynesian Community but more to the Samoan Community in San Francisco and the Bay Area.
I know the struggles of an emerging Annual Celebration and made the First Annual Aloha Festival happen at the Presidio of San Francisco that first began in 1995. The Flag Day coincides with the Aloha Festival and while each has its own draw both bring the best of Polynesia to a place of goodness, harmony, love, joy. There is a fine line between talofa and aloha but words nurture harmony and unity speak for humanity and the need to survive to make this world a better place. This year I spent two days attending the Flag Day Festival a Friday and a Saturday at Crocker Amazon Park and learned a lot by meeting hundreds of people some old acquaintances and many new found friends. My greatest pleasure was spending quality time with youth and the youth that I have grown to love many Polynesian and from the Bay Area.
Thousands of years ago among the greatest navigators the world ever saw the Polynesians ruled the great Oceans of the world. Their skills to understand the vast expenses, the sky, and the smell in the wind took them to places some inhabited and others that they settled in. Among these seafarers the Samoans excelled as Navigators and Warriors.
There are thousands of Samoans in San Francisco and Flag Day still remains that one single Day when most Samoans from San Francisco come together to celebrate. This is the dawn of a new age and with the politics of San Francisco the demise of the Boys and Girls Club on Kiska Road that brought so many Samoan Youth to a safe haven and a place of cultural reprieve.
With insults thrown to the Polynesian Community by the City and County of San Francisco, the time has come to sit around the bowl of KAVA and seek the truth and face the foe looking straight in the eye. Warriors have zero tolerance for cowards and more for those that stab you in the back at City Hall.
The Samoan Community Development Center still survives and this year celebrated its 10th Anniversary. Sululagi Palega and Patsy Tito try to make good things happen - it is not easy but there can be no love without much sacrifice.
This year the Flag Day celebration brought out many Polynesian Churches with so many good choral groups singing so many melodious tunes from the 50s and 60s. There were dance competitions and long speeches that spoke of making this world a better place. A live band belted good tunes mostly from the 60s and 70s and brought memories of a time when things were so romantic in my life. As in the past, the tradition still persists the Elders belting out speeches and the youth have to listen to wisdom some makes sense and as to the rest one has to read between the lines to fathom the goodness of the source.
In order for any tree to bear good fruit, one has to plant a good seed, good seeds are difficult to find. There are those that talk the talk but God I suppose loves those that walk the walk.
Much turmoil has hit the Polynesian Community in recent years in past years the Church and deep faith has helped the congregation over come immense difficulties. When it comes to drugs, shootings, killings, and violent crimes the Pastors are stumped much like the game of cricket. It is for the advocates to step up and make good things happen. For those that have not showed love to the YOUTH to show unconditional love and friendship.
The Polynesian youth need good leaders to encourage them to be Doctors, Engineers, Professors, Policemen and forget just being Security Guards and think that it is easy to make it to the American National Football League. The times are a changing and there is much drastic change blowing in the wind.
The 2006 Flag Day in San Francisco will lead to 2007 and to better times and a better vision for tomorrow. Much Talofas and remember good leaders know the way, show the way, and go the way.
Patsy Tito and her Team.
My boys in form.
Watching the Show.
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