President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump laid a wreath and threw hibiscus flowers into the sea on Friday at a Hawaii memorial for US soldiers who died at Pearl Harbor nearly 80 years ago.
Embarking on his first official tour of Asia, Trump said he eagerly anticipated a visit to Pearl Harbor, where thousands of service members paid the ultimate sacrifice.
‘Getting ready to land in Hawaii. Looking so much forward to meeting with our great Military/Veterans at Pearl Harbor!’ Trump tweeted aboard Air Force One as he neared the end of a 10-hour flight from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.
Trump toured the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, which marks the resting place of more than 1,000 sailors and Marines who were killed on the battle ship during the Japanese surprise attack on December 7, 1941.
Accessible only by boat, the memorial straddles the battleship’s sunken hull.
More than 2,300 sailors, soldiers and Marines died as a result of the attack, as well as 68 civilians, according to the National Park Service.
Trump saluted after entering the memorial following a short boat ride with the first lady.
They approached a wreath of white flowers – a gift from the couple – and watched as two sailors placed it near a wall of names of those who died after a surprise attack by Japan that plunged the US into World War II.
The Trumps then tossed white flower petals into the water above the battleship’s sunken hull.
Trump did not speak publicly at the memorial. He said during an earlier meeting with military officials that he eagerly anticipated the visit.
Trump landed in Hawaii on Friday as he set out on the longest trip to Asia by an American president in more than a quarter century, looking for help to pressure North Korea to stand down from a nuclear crisis.
Trump and his wife arrived at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam late Thursday after a daylong flight from Washington.
The First Lady left Washington in a winter jacket in electrifying cobalt blue but changed mid-flight into a sleek white sun dress that bared her arms.
Upon landing, the Trumps were both handed traditional leis, the wreath of flowers worn around the necks that are presented upon arriving or leaving Hawaii as a symbol of affection.
Just after 1pm local time, Trump and the first lady were greeted on the Hickam Air Force base tarmac by Hawaii Governor David Ige and his wife Dawn Amano-Ige.