Veterans Day ceremonies honor all who served and continue to serve

National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific

Veterans Day ceremonies took place across the state Tuesday to honor military members who have served or are currently serving our country.

Many gathered at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific to reflect on the contributions of the nearly 22 million men and women who fought and continue to fight for freedom.

“The silence from those who lay below these hallowed grounds speak loudly for those of us who have survived to carry on the fight that they so valiantly gave their all,” said Brigadier General Irwin K. Cockett Jr.

“I’m reminded of the high price that Hawaii paid in the conflicts honored by this memorial, the price paid by those who fought in WWII and Korea and Vietnam, the price paid not only because of Hawaii’s proximity to the front lines, but because of the willingness of Hawaii’s sons and daughters to serve in our Armed Forces,” said U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Harry B. Harris Jr.

“Our battles, our victories, indeed our very way of life, are owed not to great moments or important dates,” he continued. “They are owed to the actions and sacrifices of individual men and women who are willing to step into the breach for their country and for the cause of freedom.”

California Avenue, Wahiawa
California Avenue, Wahiawa

In Wahiawa, the Wahiawa Lions Club staged its 68th annual Veterans Day Parade. This year’s theme was “Commitment, Honor, Sacrifice – Our Proud Veterans.”

A joint service color guard, the Royal Hawaiian Band and dozens of marching units made their way along California Avenue, from Kaala Elementary School to Wahiawa District Park.

Grand Marshals for the parade were two Military Intelligence Service veterans, Glen Arakaki and Yoshinobu Oshiro, and Mitsuo Hamasu of the 100th Battalion.

The program included a flyover by World War II aircraft and massing of the colors.

Over in Kaneohe, a ceremony was held at the Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery.

The program began with a musical prelude by the 111th Army Band of the Hawaii Army National Guard, followed by a conch shell opening featuring Kahu Manu Mook.

The Office of Veteran Services honored Secretary Jennifer Aina for her service and commitment to veterans since OVS was established in 1988.

Many people confuse Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Both holidays were established to recognize and honor the men and women who have worn the uniform of the United States Armed Forces.

But Memorial Day, which is observed on the last Monday in May, was originally set aside as a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country (particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle).

While those who died are also remembered on Veterans Day, the November 11th holiday is largely intended to thank living Veterans.

Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery
Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery

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