Four honored with Hawaii Medal of Honor - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Four honored with Hawaii Medal of Honor

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

A Hawaiian blessing and the presentation of colors preceded the solemn ceremony for four families whose loved ones were killed while serving in Afghanistan.

"We are one with you in understanding what you have given. And what your loved ones have given brings honor to those best features of ourselves as human beings," Gov. Neil Abercrombie said.

A joint session of the legislature Tuesday presented the Hawaii Medal of Honor to U.S. Army Sgt.Tofiga Tautolo, U.S. Air Force Capt. Reid Nishizuka, U.S. Army Sgt. Edward Balli from Kapolei and U.S. Army Sgt. Drew Scobie.  The National Guardsman from Kailua was killed when the reconnaissance airplane he was on crashed. Scobie's young son held his medal flanked by his sister and mom, McKenna.

State Adjutant Gen. Darryll Wong chocked back tears when he talked about delivering the news to Scobie's wife.

"Visiting McKenna was the most difficult task I've ever had to perform in my four decades of service in uniform," he said.

The Hickam Honor Guard performed a three-volley salute. There was the playing of taps. The Hawaii Medal of Honor is the state's way of expressing appreciation to the Hawaii men and women in uniform who pay for freedom with their lives.

"They volunteered to fight our battles, to put themselves in harm's way, to leave behind families, friends, and the comforts of home to serve our country," Senate president Donna Mercado Kim said.

"The temporal existence of those we honor today may have passed, but our memories and our honor and our respect are like invulnerable," Abercrombie said.

Since the war on terrorism began, 331 Hawaii service members have received the Hawaii Medal of Honor. Their dates of death stretch from March 29, 2003 to January 20, 2014. The medal presentation is a small way of saying thank you.

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