Punchbowl ceremony honors war dead and active military - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Punchbowl ceremony honors war dead and active military

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

A Navy buglar's mournful notes saluted more than 51,000 soldiers and service members buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl.

"We bow our heads as we honor those who have served before us and given their lives in that service for our country and the freedoms it provides," U.S. Army chaplain Lt. Col. Ken Bellinger said.

Active duty military and veterans were there to see the presentation of colors and laying of wreaths at the gathering place of shared sacrifice.

"There's many great Americans who are buried here in this cemetery. These great men and women made the ultimate sacrifice and are a constant reminder that freedom is not free," said Adm. Samuel J. Locklear, commander of the United States Pacific Command.

He told the gathering that since America started Memorial Day services in the 1860s, 1.3 million Americans have died fighting for freedom.

Other remembrances on Oahu were held at the Post Cemetery at Schofield Barracks and the Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery in Kaneohe.

The service at Punchbowl also recognized the war wounded and service members fighting on foreign soil.

"I also do want to recognize those who serve today, the women and men of our armed forces so far from home, so far from loved ones. We want to say thank you and mahalo," Mayor Kirk Caldwell said.

The last Monday in May marks Memorial Day, when ceremonies are held at memorials and monuments throughout the United States.

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