Across Hawaii, thousands honor those who died in service to the nation

A veteran salutes at the 69th annual Mayor's Memorial Day Ceremony. (Image: Hawaii News Now)
A veteran salutes at the 69th annual Mayor's Memorial Day Ceremony. (Image: Hawaii News Now)

PUNCHBOWL (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hundreds of small flags dotted the grounds of the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl on Monday — each flag set into the ground at a grave marker.

For the hundreds who attended the 69th annual Mayor's Memorial Day Ceremony at the cemetery, the sight is a reminder of the real meaning of the last Monday in May — a day set aside every year to honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in military service to the country.

"A nation reveals itself not only by the people it produces, but also by the people it remembers and honors," said Air Force Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Kruse, at the ceremony. "And so today, we and many like us across the nation reveal the true strength and substance of our national character by pausing to honor those who served."

Hundreds gathered at the cemetery Monday for the ceremony, which included laying wreaths to honor fallen service members.

Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard said that people often associate Memorial Day with the start of summer and warmer weather.

"We sometimes forget that it's not just another three-day weekend," she told attendees, "but a time to remember and honor those who have died fighting for America and the principles and ideals that our nation stands for."

This story will be updated.

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