Kaunoa Senior Services surpass lei-making goal for Memorial Day

Their goal was to make 4,002 lei for each grave at Maui Veterans Cemetery. The final count on...
Their goal was to make 4,002 lei for each grave at Maui Veterans Cemetery. The final count on Friday came out to 5,627.(Hawaii News Now)
Published: May. 26, 2023 at 9:06 PM HST
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PAIA (HawaiiNewsNow) - On Monday, Maui Veterans Cemetery in Makawao will be adorned with thousands of lei thanks to the volunteers at Kaunoa Senior Services and various members throughout the community.

Their goal was 4,002 lei for each grave. But just last week, they needed about 3,000 more. The final count on Friday came out to 5,627.

“The amount that surpassed our goal is amazing,” said Abcde Rosa with Kaunoa Senior Services.

The veterans say it makes them feel special.

“Without this, the cemetery would be bare. This gives it color and it gives it meaning and it shows the veterans that are still living that they won’t be forgotten,” said Korean War veteran Robert Fevella.

Each year, Kaunoa Senior Services make lei to honor the community’s fallen heroes. But this year, they needed help to reach their goal.

Maui residents answered the call.

“This is wonderful and so generous of all of the participants who have been making all the lei and providing the refreshments and doing all these things for and on behalf of the veterans. So, we really appreciate that,” said Vietnam War veteran Lloyd Sodetani.

The extra thousand-plus lei will be used around the cemetery and shared with others.

“Lanai gets, Molokai gets … everywhere, we just share. Lahaina, West Maui has their own site. So, we share with them as well,” Rosa said.

War veterans on Maui are asking the community to reflect on the true meaning of Memorial Day on Monday.

They say it’s not a time to celebrate – but to remember those who paid the ultimate price.

“Freedom is not free,” said Korean War veteran Moses Kahalekulu. “A lot of people gave their all … honor those folks who didn’t make it.”

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