For some, the Lantern Floating Hawaii Ceremony has become an annual tradition. That’s the case for the Weger family from Houston, Texas.
Watching hundreds of lanterns, honoring lives lost, helping the Weger family remember an American Hero.
“Our son Michael, who had been serving in Iraq in the Army was killed by an improvised explosive device along with two other people in his vehicle,” Michael’s mother Tricia Weger said.
Michael was killed in October 2004.
A few years back Michael’s father, Greg, ventured out to the ceremony at Ala Moana Beach Park to see what it was all about.
“The overwhelmingly, healing feeling that I got while I was watching my son’s lantern joins the others in floating out to sea, just took a huge weight off of me that I had been feeling for years,” Michael’s father Greg Weger said.
It was something Greg felt he needed to share.
“And I knew if there was any way possible that my family was going to share in this experience. So that was in 2007 and we’ve been back every year since,” Greg Weger said.
“To see all of the people coming together, in a single spirit and then joining together in floating those lanterns out to sea in a very peaceful way,” Tricia Weger said.
Now the Wegers are volunteers, helping others in their time of need, just like their son Michael did in Iraq.
One of the soldier’s last acts was dropping off school supplies for children in need.
“Well, you never stop missing them because it changes you forever, but what this has become for us is a renewal. Every time that we come over here and we meet with these people and we meet the friends that we’ve made over here and go through the experience, for us it’s very much a renewing process,” Greg Weger said.