Joint 2017 Memorial Day ceremony planned for the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl

Updated: May. 25, 2017 at 10:39 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, a special collaborative Memorial Day Ceremony will be held at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl. The ceremony will include speeches, presentation of wreath, a cannon salute, a planned USAF/Hawaii Air National Guard flyover, playing of taps, and performances by the Royal Hawaiian Band. The event is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, May 29, 2017. The event is being sponsored by Governor David Ige, Mayor Kirk Caldwell, the Veterans Administration, the Office of Veteran Services, the 50th Anniversary of Vietnam Commemorative Committee, various Vietnam veterans organizations, and several other groups.

The ceremony is expected to attract some 3,000 attendees. As a result, there will be parking restrictions and particular traffic flow patterns implemented at the Punchbowl site. Members of the public will not be allowed to drive into or park within the cemetery on the day of the ceremony until the program is completely finished and attendees have cleared the site by 12 noon. Instead, the public is encouraged to park at one of several free sites and utilize a free shuttle service offered by TheBus. Those sites include: the Frank F. Fasi Municipal Building parking lot, Alapai Transit Center, and President William McKinley High School's parking lot accessible from S. King Street.

18 vehicles from TheBus will continuously shuttle attendees from 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. the morning of the ceremony from the Alapai Transit Center. Attendees are required to be within Punchbowl by 8 a.m, after which access into Punchbowl will be restricted until the ceremony is finished. Shuttle service back to the Alapai Transit Center will commence following the conclusion of the ceremony. The last shuttle back will depart at 12 noon. Regular bus rules apply to the shuttle service, including limits on baggage. TheHandi-Van reserved rides and licensed/marked taxi cabs will be allowed to drive into Punchbowl. No personal vehicles will be allowed unless previously authorized. Parking at Lincoln Elementary, Robert Louis Stevenson Middle, and President Theodore Roosevelt High schools will be reserved for special guests and VIPs. These parking lots open at 6:30 a.m.

Sunscreen and water are recommended as covered seating is limited for this engagement. Please do not bring your own chair into the ceremony. Reserved seating will be offered to invited guests and veterans. Remaining seats will be offered to the public.

Prior to the Memorial Day Ceremony, an estimated 38,000 lei will be made, donated, and placed on gravesites within the memorial cemetery. To help meet that goal, the public will have several opportunities to either donate their pre-made lei, lei-making skills, or materials.

On Friday, May 26, 2017 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. the city will host its annual Sew a Lei for Memorial Day event at Honolulu Hale. During that event you can drop of your fresh flowers or lei (measuring 22" to 24" in length), attend lessons on how to make lei, and help to make the lei yourself. Prior to that, you may drop off your lei at several sites across the state. For a list of those sites, and for additional information on the Memorial Day Ceremony, please visit the Department of Parks and Recreation's Memorial Day webpage.

Volunteers are also requested for a plumeria picking event island-wide on Thursday, May 25 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. For more information on that event, including specific locations, please contact our Botanical Garden volunteer staff at (808) 628-1190. Ti leaf donations will also be accepted until May 22. You can drop them off from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 550 S. King Street, 2nd floor. The Boy Scouts of Hawai?i will be placing those lei at the memorial cemetery on Sunday, May 28 during an event beginning at 1 p.m.

There will be numerous other events leading up to Memorial Day in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. This includes a parade down Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki on Saturday, May 27, 2017. For more information on those events, please visit

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