A visit by senior US diplomats to the Solomon Islands included a touching personal moment, as Caroline Kennedy, the new US Ambassador to AustraliaShe met the sons of the two men who saved her father John F. Kennedy’s life in World War II.
Caroline Kennedy was in Honiara to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Guadalcanal, a brutal seven-month land, sea and air battle between Allied and Japanese forces that marked a turning point in the war.
During the war, John F. Kennedy – who became the President of the United States – narrowly escaped death when a Japanese destroyer ran aboard his patrol boat PT-109.
Kennedy and his shipwrecked crew reached a Japanese-held island, where they found two Solomon Islanders, Eroni Kumana and Biuku Gasa, who were working as Coastwatchers – along with allied military operatives – behind enemy lines.
At great personal risk, Cumana and Gasa took a coconut, on which Kennedy wrote an account of the crew’s plight, back to an observer working off the coast of Australia. The crew of the patrol boat was later rescued.
Caroline Kennedy met Cumana’s son John Colony and Gasa’s daughter Nelma Ane at a ceremony in Guadalcanal on Sunday and presented them with a replica of the coconut husk on which her father wrote a message of grief. The original is in the Kennedy Museum in Boston.
“I’m so grateful that you’re here today and I can say thank you and one day I want to bring my children to continue this relationship,” Kennedy said as she presented the gift. 1 News.
“I am honored and proud of my father and happy on his behalf. He would have come here to receive this medal,” Colony said. Content reported.
Kumna and Gasa have been written mainly outside the history of the event. Kennedy invited men to his inauguration in January 1961, but British officials Solomon Islands Guards prevented them from leaving. Instead, two white officers were present.
Gasa died in 2005. Kumna passed away in 2014.
Commemorations in the Solomon Islands were also attended by US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, who warned Pacific island nations of a new struggle against violent power-hungry regimes.
Attending an early morning memorial service, Sherman said “some around the world” have forgotten the cost of war or are ignoring the lessons of the past.
She hit out at “leaders who believe that coercion, coercion and violence are tools to be used by coercion,” but did not specify any names during her speech at the service.
“We remember how bankrupt, how empty, the scenes were then and still are today,” she said of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in the 1930s-40s. “Today we are once again engaged in a different kind of conflict – a conflict that will continue for some time to come.”
Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogaware did not attend the ceremony, although he was scheduled to attend and was listed in the program of the event.
Sogware later met with Sherman for what she described as an “extensive” discussion.
Sherman and Kennedy met as Washington sought to renew its influence in the South Pacific and counter growing Chinese influence.
Sogaware signed A Controversial security deal with China At the beginning of the year, there was great concern in the US and Australia. In the background of this agreement, it has been announced that the US has tried to increase its presence in the Pacific. Open two new embassies in the region – Tonga and Kiribati – as well as his It announced in February that it would reopen the embassy in Honiarawhich closed about three decades ago.