APIA, Samoa If it were possible, the thousands of LDS Samoans who staged the massive Polynesian cultural celebration Sept. 3 at the Apia Park Stadium would each sit down with President Gordon B. Hinckley and thank him personally for making the long flight to Samoa to dedicate their new temple.
Instead, they communicated their love and gratitude via music, song and dance.
Some 5,000 members of all ages from Samoa and American Samoa donned colorful traditional costumes, stretched out across the stadium's rugby field and performed the Polynesian dances of Hawaii, Tahiti, Tonga, Fiji, New Zealand and, of course, Samoa. The talents of the Samoan Police Band were also enlisted throughout the evening.
The feeling was warm, festive and animated as cast members hit their marks for President Hinckley; President Thomas S. Monson, first counselor in the First Presidency; a host of local Church leaders and an audience of thousands.
Anxious for the next day's dedication of the rebuilt Apia Samoa Temple, the performers and scores of full-time missionaries ended the evening with a medley of hymns.
As the celebration concluded, President Hinckley stood and saluted the cast by waving a white handkerchief high over his head. Their thanks had been accepted.