ALOHA FROM JENNIE: A senior in his mid eighties recently told me how blessed he feels to have enjoyed a rewarding professional career, grown children with excellent accomplishments, and good health for he and his wife enabling them to still travel and cruise at their age, He further added that part of his contentment is due to knowing that when the time comes, his final resting place as a military veteran would be the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. He happily described shady trees and eternal tranquility.
This discussion piqued my interest to visit these federal grounds located in Punchbowl Crater, an extinct volcanic cone created 100,000 years ago, located on the island of Oahu. The cemetery was dedicated in 1949 and is now the serene home to over 50,000 interred military fallen, veterans and their dependents. Lookouts throughout the 100+ acres of beautifully maintained land provide a panoramic view of Honolulu, Diamond Head, the ocean and our mountains.
Memorial Day weekend was an especially fitting time to visit and honor our military. On Sunday, the local Boy and Girl Scouts troops were out in force, as it's their tradition to place flags and flower leis on each of the flat grave markers before the Monday occasion. The community is involved throughout the weeks leading up to the event, gathering flower blossoms, stringing leis and dropping off the floral donations at local firehouses for use on this special remembrance day. Ceremonies of tribute are conducted throughout the weekend, including a twenty-one gun salute and the playing of taps as seen in our above video.
As seen in this video, the Honolulu Memorial within the cemetery grounds include beautiful hallways flanked by mosaics illustrating the various military campaigns from World War II through the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Military personnel are memorialized on marble slabs in the courtyard, and a chapel and water treatments add to the solemn environment. The Statue of Lady Columbia, which is featured in the opening credits of the TV series, Hawaii Five-O, represents all grieving mothers. After spending a reflective morning on these grounds, it's easy to see why millions of visitors have paid their respects to those who have served by visiting this tranquil memorial.