JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
The morning sun silhouetted Joe McCloskey, a U.S. Army veteran of the Korean War, yesterday as he looked over wreaths during the annual Veterans Day ceremonies at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl in Honolulu. The ceremony included a flyby using Army National Guard helicopters, as well as the placing of more than 20 memorial wreaths.
Ceremonies honor U.S. veterans
STORY SUMMARY »
Jack Feliz survived the sinking of the USS Houston only to labor in a POW camp.
Anita Korenaga treasures a photo her brother snapped of her as he shipped out from Hawaii in World War II.
Their memories enriched yesterday's Veterans Day observances on Oahu.
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Wearing a green blazer and orange lei, 96-year-old Jack Feliz signed autographs and greeted new fans yesterday at a Veterans Day ceremony aboard the battleship USS Missouri.
It was one of several ceremonies around Oahu.
Feliz was a crewman aboard the USS Houston, a heavy cruiser sunk by the Japanese on March 1, 1942, off the coast of Java, Indonesia.
Seven hundred men died, while 368, including Feliz, swam for hours to reach land, only to be imprisoned by the Japanese for 3 1/2 years.
The resident of Waikiki and Palm Springs, Calif., said his time digging ditches and working as a stevedore in a Japanese prisoner of war camp was "rough as a cob."
His wife of 51 years, Marie Feliz, said he worked in a Mistubishi iron mine and freed himself by jumping over a fence after the war ended.
Feliz, a 30-year Navy veteran who retired as a commander, wrote a book about his experiences, "The Saga of Sailor Jack."
CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Combat Service Support Group Cpl. Matthew Tumbrink of the U.S. Marines Rifle Detail fired yesterday during a gun salute held at the Veterans Day Sunset Ceremony on the Battleship Missouri Memorial at Pearl Harbor.
Just before sunset, about 250 people, including members of the USS Houston Survivors Association and Next Generations, gathered for the Missouri observance, which Feliz called "an outstanding pleasure."
The experience triggered some nostalgia for Mike Whiteman, 31, who served on a ship in the 1990s. "The ship was my family," he said. "They were my family like we were brothers. You don't get that elsewhere. Only in the military you get that."
One group, the Korean-American Partnership Alliance, also attended the city's ceremony at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl and Gov. Linda Lingle's ceremony at the Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery in Kaneohe.
"We are showing our appreciation to U.S. veterans who fought for Korea," said Won Hyun No, one of the 28 representatives from Daegu, South Korea. "We are friends always. We will never forget."
Lt. Gen. John Goodman, commander of the Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, told the Missouri audience the military is making progress in Iraq.
"In the Al Anbar province, where just a little over a year ago was considered the most violent province in Iraq and the most violent place on the face of the earth, today ... has become the model of future hope in that country," he said.