City needs thousands more lei for Memorial Day

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It’s a tradition that started more than a half century ago — Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts decorating our veterans graves with a flag and a lei for Memorial Day.

The City is hoping to collect 27,000 more lei by Saturday night in order to decorate all of our veterans graves.

Sandy Vincent was among the vendors selling lei at Aloha Stadium Friday night for Aiea High School’s graduation.

“Yeah, I do all the graduations at the stadium,” Vincent said.

Just as it’s tradition to give lei to graduates, it’s been Vincent’s tradition to donate the lei she doesn’t sell to the City’s “Sew a Lei for Memorial Day” project.

“Have to give back somehow, you know,” Vincent said.

So, the lei she’s made will be among the thousands of lei that will decorate our veterans graves this Memorial Day.

On Sunday, as tradition, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts will place all of the donated lei on the graves at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl, and at the State Veteran’s Cemetery in Kaneohe.

On Friday alone, the City collected 23,000 lei.

“Those are fantastic turnout numbers from the neighbor islands, from the fire station collection points, from our ‘Sew a Lei’ today,” said Jeanne Ishikawa, Deputy Director of the Parks and Recreation Dept.

And on Saturday, you can help sew some lei.

The State Agriculture Department is hosting the event at the Plant Quarantine Branch at 1849 Auiki Street near Sand Island, from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

“We’ll have all the materials and flowers there, so please come out. You can learn to sew a lei. If you know how to sew a lei, you can teach someone else to sew a lei. It’s just a fun event,” Ishikawa said.

Back at Aloha Stadium, the buying crowd has died down.

And Sandy Vincent is calling it a night.

“So we’re going to donate all these to them.  They serving the country, keep us in good spirits and health, and they deserve a lei,” Vincent said.

If you want to donate lei on Saturday, you can either drop them off at the Department of Agriculture’s Plant Quarantine Branch until 2 p.m.

Or you can also drop them off at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl until 5 p.m.

They should be about 20 to 24 inches long, and made out of fresh flowers or ti leaves.

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