State Funeral Honors Senator Harper, a True Statesman

WENO, CHUUK. At 9:35 on Monday morning of February 5, 2024, United Airlines flight 155 returned to the Federated States of Micronesia with the remains of the late Senator Florencio Singkoro Harper to be finally laid to rest in his beloved home state of Chuuk.

The late Harper passed away on the 8th of January at the Guam Regional City Hospital. He was finally returned home on the 5th of February, where he was accorded full honors of a State Funeral from a ceremonious airport arrival to a full-gun salute burial. The State Funeral began on the tarmac with an FSM flag draped coffin carried by the national police through an honor-guard welcomed by the Chuuk State police and received by the Nation’s President Wesley W. Simina, Speaker of the FSM Congress Esmond B. Moses and Chuuk State Governor Alexander R. Narruhn and children and family of the late Harper.

Through a collaborative effort between the National Government and the Chuuk State Government, a motorcade procession led by the state police wound its way from the airport to the Holy Family Church, where the family requested a Funeral Liturgy for the late Senator Harper. After the liturgy, the Holy Family Church hosted the State Funeral where the national and state governments both paid tribute to a statesman who gave so much to his beloved people of Chuuk and the Nation as a whole.

Father Floren Akkin began the State Funeral with an Invocation followed by Vice Speaker Robson U. Romolow who welcomed everyone that joined the funeral in person and through technology for a day of profound mourning for the Nation. He noted that while the Nation mourns Senator Harper’s passing, it should also celebrate the legacy the late Senator Harper left behind of “selfless dedication, tireless work and unyielding commitment to the betterment of Micronesia.

“May his memory be a source of strength, inspiration, and comfort for us all,” said Vice Speaker Romolow.

Additional welcoming remarks were given by Governor Narruhn, where he reflected on the significant role the late Senator Harper played in shaping key issues for the Nation. He encouraged everyone to honor the departed Congressman by “continuing his vision of working together for the sake of our beloved citizens.”

After the welcoming remarks, Speaker Lester Daniel Mersai of the 17th Chuuk State Legislature delivered the eulogy. He recounted the late Harper’s illustrious career in public service and especially emphasized the extended years he served as an elected public servant. Speaker Mersai underscored how Senator Harper’s humble beginning in public service began through a historic ‘write-in vote’ election to the then Unicameral Chuuk State Legislature.

In President Simina’s State Remarks, he further tribute Senator Harper as “a humble man who never forgot his humble island beginnings. He was sincere, honest and open-minded, with an infectious sense of humor.”

“I had the privilege and pleasure of serving with and alongside Singkoro for more than 20 years. He was my mentor, whose company, friendship,and advice I enjoyed and benefitted from in our public life together,”the President concluded.  President Simina ended his State Remarks with Vice President Aren B. Palik’s presentation of the Presidential Proclamation to the family of the late Senator Harper.

Following Vice President’s presentation, the tributes that were passed and adopted in honor of the late Senator Harper were presented to the family, starting with:

-       Congressional Resolution No. 23-114, which was presented by Floor Leader Quincy Lawrence of the 23rd FSM Congress;

-       Legislative Resolution No. 24,was presented by the 11th Pohnpei State Legislature Vice Speaker McGarry Miquel to the family while Floor Leader Hudson Abraham presented a copy to the Chuuk Governor;

-       Joint House Resolution 17-24-HJR-11,was presented to the family by Vice Speaker Andrew May of the 17th Chuuk State Legislature; and  

-       the final presentation to the family was the Chuuk State Proclamation presented by Lieutenant Governor Mekioshy William.

The government presentation was followed by, remarks from Senator Aisek Artui expressing gratitude on behalf of the late Senator Harper’s family. Senator Artui shared the family’s appreciation and gratitude for the love and support received by the family from the various communities, the state and the Nation as a whole.

Speaker Moses wrapped up the State Funeral program with the Nation’s farewell message. He first thanked the family for allowing the government to accord the late Harper the proper respect due a true statesman, then the Speaker highlighted Harper’s self-confidence and faith I his work as an attribute that defined his services to his people and the Nation. According to Speaker Moses, the late Senator Harper “had the confidence and lacked the arrogance...and as we can see, that is what made him so beloved,” the Speaker concluded.

Following the Speaker’s farewell, Reverend Eddie Beyond offered the Benediction that concluded the State Funeral for the late Senator Florencio Sinkgoro Harper.

The next day - February 6, 2024, a full-gun salute was accorded to the burial of the late Senator Harper which was attended by family, friends, community members, leadership from throughout the nation, and the constituents he so loved and faithfully served. President Simina concluded the government’s role in the burial ceremony through his presentation of the Nation’s flag to the family of the late Senator Harper.

Harperis survived by wife Meriam and their 7 children: Akina, Neimen, Sadsy, Atlad, Flores, Besser, Lastlynn; and their 22 grandchildren.


* * *