Punchbowl Cemetery honors troops buried decades & days ago

Published: May. 28, 2012 at 10:05 PM HST|Updated: May. 29, 2012 at 7:32 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - At the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl, they honored those who've served in our military - past and present, living and dead. As F-22 fighter jets passed overhead with a missing man flyover, attendees reflected on both peace and preparedness.

The day was filled with all the proper pomp and pageantry – a 21 rifle salute, the playing of Taps, the presentation of colors, and songs like the Star Spangled Banner, God Bless America, and I'm Proud to be an American.

Of course, they honored those who made the ultimate sacrifice with themes of duty, honor, and country - in a speech made by Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle.

"We remember all those resting on foreign shores and at the bottom of the seas. We remember those who perished in combat and those who were starved in captivity - those who remain missing in action. Those who came home to be great leaders, and those who were never quite whole again," the Mayor said.

One by one, groups paid their respects by laying floral wreaths - as young cadets and Old Salts saluted fallen comrades. They remembered those who died decades ago and days ago, like Army Chief Warrant Officer, Don Viray. He and three other Schofield-based soldiers died in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan in April. Viray was buried in these hallowed grounds at Punchbowl just weeks ago.

They honored those who served without expectation. Still, thank you's are very much appreciated. And on this sacred land, not far from the beaches and barbeques, the flags of freedom wave proudly and gallantly in the wind.

Copyright 2012 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.