Hawaii celebrates Veterans Day

Hawaii celebrates Veterans Day
Published: Nov. 12, 2013 at 3:44 AM HST|Updated: Nov. 12, 2013 at 4:24 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - They marched from Pearl Harbor to Waikiki, paraded in Wahiawa and reflected at Punchbowl.

Veterans Day ceremonies attracted thousands around the islands who honored those who served on the nation's behalf.

"We say mahalo on behalf of a grateful nation forever indebted to our fallen warriors and their families and all who continue to serve," said U.S. Rep Tulsi Gabbard, (D)-Hawaii, the keynote speaker at the Veteran's Day ceremonies at Punchbowl Cemetery.

About a dozen soldiers kicked off the events in the early morning hours with a rugged, 12-mile hike known as the "Ruck March."

Carrying 45- to 50-pounds of gear, the soldiers marched from Pearl Harbor to the Waikiki Natatorium to salute their fellow servicemen.

"We just wanted to honor those veterans who passed on before us, those who led the way, and our brothers and sisters that are serving along side of us right now," said Sgt. Nathaniel Harp, who took part in the Ruck March.

Meanwhile in Wahiawa, hundreds turned out for the town's annual Veterans Day parade, which organizers say was one of their larger ever.

"We're honored because we have two children in this parade and my husband is in the military. We're just a grateful family to begin with," said Ester Guerrero, who attended the event.

It was a more somber mood at the Punchbowl Cemetery, where Hawaii political leaders joined veterans and their families.

"We're gathering at this hallowed place, honoring our veterans for the unwavering service to the sacrifices the veterans and the families made in the name of freedom," said Gen. Vincent Brooks, commanding general of the U.S. Army Pacific.

The final Veterans Day event was held on the deck of the U.S.S. Missouri, where many Japanese-American veterans of the World War II were honored in a Sunset Ceremony.

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