Veterans Day ceremonies held at Puncbowl

By Shawn Ching - email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - At the National Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl there were a number of firsts on this Veteran's day.

It was observed both by Hawaii dignitaries and for the first time by a foreign leader the prime minister of one of America's staunchest allies.

With our national shrine at Punchbowl as the backdrop hundreds turned out in gratitude, and to remember.

I am humbled to take part in this somber yet glorious occasion. To thank current generations of uniformed members and their families. To thank the veterans of past wars, including our foreign partners like Australia who spilled blood alongside their American allies," said Adm. Robert F. Willard, Commander, U.S. Pacific Command.

Today was about honor and freedom and praising those who have fought and died for America.

"Today Australians remember your fallen. I want you to know that Australia does not forget. Australia will never forget the sacrifices you made for peace in the past. Australia will always share your hopes for peace in the future," said Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia.

Aside from a foreign leader taking part in today's ceremony at Punchbowl there was another first a welcome Ha'a or native Hawaiian chant.

A number of Hawaii's dignitaries also paid their respects including Governor Neal Abercrombie, Senator Daniel Inouye and Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlise together they joined and Navy Admiral Robert Willard in laying the first wreath in honor of our vets.

To end today's observance another first a flyover in missing man formation by the military's newest fighter jet, four F-22 raptors from the Hawaii Air National Guard.

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