Waikiki parade celebrates season, honors Pearl Harbor survivors - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Waikiki parade celebrates season, honors Pearl Harbor attack survivors

Posted: Updated:
Kiana Kawagoe-Aoki (in foreground) Kiana Kawagoe-Aoki (in foreground)
Delton Walling Delton Walling
WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Thousands of people turned out Friday night for the 15th annual Waikiki Holiday Parade, celebrating the holiday season while also honoring Pearl Harbor attack survivors.

The parade featured ten bands and 35 marching units. 

Among them Kiana Kawagoe-Aoki, 16, in her debut parade performance as drum major of the McKinley High School marching band. 

"Yeah, I'm a little nervous, but I think I'll do fine.  I'm pretty confident in the band, so I'm sure it will be good," said Kawagoe-Aoki, a junior who played clarinet in the band for the last three years before becoming drum major. 

In spite of a bleak weather forecast, the rain held off as thousands lined Kalakaua Avenue to watch this parade that's been held the day after Thanksgiving for the last 15 years. 

Besides serving as a festive kick-off of the holiday season, the parade honored survivors of the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.   

Six of those World War II veterans participated, four of them from Hawaii   

The grand marshal was Delton Walling, 92, of Wallace, Calif.  He's a Navy veteran and December 7th survivor, who at age 19 watched the attack from a communication tower at Pearl Harbor. 

"My role was just stand there and watch it.  And what a shock.  A 19-year-old kid," Walling told Hawaii News Now Friday. 

Walling spent 12 hours reporting the damage that day by phone to Admiral Husband Kimmel, the man in charge of the Pacific Fleet. 

"We were reporting the damage to Kimmel but we can't do anything," he said 

At the parade's conclusion, a band played the Navy and Marine hymn, "Eternal Father, Strong to Save," in solemn tribute to those who survived the attack 72 years ago.

Walling said he gives about 50 speeches a year about the Pearl Harbor attack that he experienced.  He said only about 2,000 Pearl Harbor survivors remain alive today. 

"And we're getting fewer every day," he said.  "And so we know in approximately five years, there won't be anybody sitting here like me, it will be gone." 

Organizers said this parade will be five times bigger in three years to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  That's when 50 bands are expected to perform along Kalakaua Avenue. 

The parade donates thousands of dollars to the Arizona Memorial each year, according to Jake Peppers, the parade's founder.

 

Copyright 2013 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.