National Parks Commemorate the Service and Sacrifice of Military Members on Veterans Day
America’s 398 national parks offered free admission during the Veterans Day weekend in honor of those that serve and have served in the United States military. The National Park of American Samoa is free to visit year round.
“National parks preserve places that commemorate our country’s collective heritage – our ideals, our majestic lands, our sacred sites, our patriotic icons – which our military has defended through the years,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “We are grateful for the service and sacrifice of military members, past and present, and honored to tell their story at many of our national parks.”
American Samoa was instrumental during World War II to help protect the important trade route between the United States, New Zealand, and Australia. Pago Pago Harbor—the deepest natural harbor in the South Pacific—provided a critical safe haven for military and trade vessels to replenish supplies and refit their ships. The United States military trained local Samoans to assist with the war effort and included the Fita Fita Guard or Navy Landsmen and the Maligi Samoa Marines. They served as mail carriers, local police, boat crews, and basic military defense services.
From frontier forts to World War II battlefields, more than 70 national parks have direct connections to the military. These include our earliest national parks where army engineers designed park roads and buildings and the cavalry enforced regulations from 1886 until the National Park Service was established in 1916.