City holds Memorial Day ceremony at Punchbowl to honor fallen heroes
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The city on Monday held its first in-person Memorial Day ceremony in over two years to honor fallen service members.
Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s Memorial Day ceremony took place at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, featuring remarks from the mayor himself, Gov. David Ige, U.S. Army Pacific Commanding General Gen. Charles Flynn and several others.
“Through it all, I am confident that the people of this city, our city, will never let anyone forget their unwavering and everlasting appreciation for everything that was given to us by those interred here and for everything that it cost,” Blangiardi said. “We stand together and forever in gratitude for the sacrifice of the men and women who gave their lives for our freedom and our country.”
Volunteers and members of the Boy and Girl Scouts of America donated and helped sew lei for all 38,000 graves at the cemetery. On Sunday, about a thousand scouts placed a flag and flower lei at every grave marker. They said the service member’s name and gave a salute at each site.
“Once you continue to say the name of that veteran, that veteran will never die because he’s been remembered,” said Gene Maestas, of Punchbowl public affairs.
“And it’s very important to teach that to the to the youngsters of America, so that they understand the sacrifice these individuals went through so that they can enjoy the freedoms that they enjoy today.”
The scouts said they were honored to continue the tradition, after not being able to do it during the past two years.
“It’s an honor and privilege to be here to take care of the graves of those who gave their lives for our freedoms and that’s why we’re here today,” said Gary Hashimoto, scout leader.
“We just want to do a small part to honor them,” said Ty Sunahara, who is a member of Troop 49, which set a goal of donating 1,000 lei to the cause.
His son Jason said, “This is a very honorable day. And it’s very important. A lot of people don’t really recognize it that much. But honestly, it’s just it’s been a big part of our lives.”
Gov. David Ige also hosted another Memorial Day ceremony at the Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery in Kaneohe.
Over the weekend, more than 250 Girl Scouts and their families helped to prepare the cemetery. They placed flags and lei on gravestones of interred veterans.
“Part of the Girl Scout tradition is of course teaching civics and understanding our patriotism and one of the things we think is important for the girls is to learn what veterans do for us and to honor them for their service,” said Shari Chang, CEO of Girl Scouts Hawaii.
This story will be updated.
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