Hawaii Adopts "Peace Day" - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii Adopts "Peace Day"

Sergeant Dexter Pascua Sergeant Dexter Pascua
Sonny Geronimo Sonny Geronimo
Clarissa Gomez Clarissa Gomez
Major Stacy Bathrick Major Stacy Bathrick

By Mary Simms

WAIPAHU (KHNL) -- Hawaii has a new reason to celebrate! "Peace Day" is already celebrated by more than 200 countries around the nation. 

Now, Hawaii is the first U.S. state to legally adopt the holiday.

September 21st is "officially" Peace Day. To celebrate, students at August Ahrens Elementary School got a chance to find out why peace is so important; from an "ambassador of peace" they could relate to.

Sergeant Dexter Pascua is a Filipino-born American. He's been in the military for seven years, gaining his citizenship last year, while deployed to Iraq.

He brings a message of peace to a group of kids that are all ears.

"I told myself that one day I would tell people my life story. To other kids, to a younger generation," said Pascua.

One day is today.  Along with his message of peace, Sergeant Pascua is a role model for these kids, many of whom emigrated from the Philippines, just like him.

"He makes me feel I can do it too! Because, he's from the military and he makes me excited to join the Marines," said 9-year-old Sonny Geronimo.

"Because I've never seen anybody from the Philippines in the military," added 9-year-old Clarissa Gomez.

Sergeant Pascua's background is one of the keys to his success in Special Operations Command, Pacific.

"He brings that cultural aspect to our command and helps make our mission that much more successful in the Philippines," said Major Stacy Bathrick.

A mission that involves working shoulder-to-shoulder with Philippine forces to maintain peace. A message that these kids seem to get, from a role model they respect.

"It makes me feel like I want to show everyone peace in the world," said Geronimo.

"Its like a good feeling to have. Being idolized as military and as a Filipino-American of course. This is like heaven for me. It's a good feeling to have," beamed Pascua.

Across the state, Hawaii will celebrate Peace Day Friday by lighting candles, and releasing birds.

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