Federal government shutdown could affect national cemetery at Punchbowl

The Tupuola family comes from Ewa Beach often to visit their grandparents who are buried at The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl.

They’re worried if a government shutdown happens they may not be able to visit their loved ones.

“We don’t have a specific day that we do drop by to see grandma and grandpa but we spontaneously whoever is in the area we tend to come by. If there is a government shutdown I’ll be really upset not to bring my flowers to visit our grandparents ” Ewa Beach resident Noi Tevaga said.

Sunday, Noi’s brother and sister-in-law were visiting Punchbowl for the first time from Maui.

“If we came like today and the thing was shutdown or there was some kind of closure that would totally affect what is happening this weekend,” Maui resident Raymond Bailey said.

“This is our men that fought for our country. It should always be open to all those who have loved ones here,” Maui resident Lei Bailey said.

The last time Punchbowl was affected by a federal government shutdown was in December 1995.

About 9-million visitors were turned away from parks, museums and monuments run by the National Park Service.

The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl says it will not close to the public or reduce its hours if a federal government shutdown happens.

The gates will remain open to visitors from 8 am – 5:30 p.m. everyday.

San Antonio resident Mark Kaiser says he found another job after experiencing federal furloughs a few years ago.

“After the first furlough I just figured that was the beginning not the end so I told her I’m still young enough to go out and look for something else so that we don’t have all our eggs in that one basket. Its just not a very fun lifestyle waiting around to see if you’re going to have a job week to week,” Texas resident Mark Kaiser said.

However, his wife, still works for the federal government in the human resources department on base in Texas.

Even though, she’s on vacation and returning to work October 7, she’s been keeping informed.

“My boss called me a couple days ago and told me that theirs a possibility that the base we’re going to have a federal shutdown,” Texas resident Celia Kaiser said.

Both Mark and Celia are not too worried about the financial impact unless the shutdown lasts longer than expected.

“Besides her salary I’m also retired and I have veterans benefits which if the shutdown continues more than a few weeks those are going to be start to delayed too,” Mark said.

Other popular attractions in Hawaii that would be affected if the federal government shuts down are Pearl Harbor, U.S.S. Arizona Memorial, Haleakala National Park and or Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

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