Friday, May 28, 1999

By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin
Wilson Elementary School students made leis yesterday to place
on graves at Punchbowl Cemetery for Memorial Day.

Lei makers
blossom at Wilson

The elementary school kids
gather flowers for graves
at Punchbowl

By Leila Fujimori


Fourth-grader Ashlyn Young knew the reason she was stringing plumeria leis: "To honor the people that died in the war."

It was more personal for Ghislaine Carvalho. "My grandpa died in the war," the fourth-grader said. But she doesn't know which war because "I wasn't even born."

"I hope one of the leis I make will go on my dad's uncle's grave," said Tyler Hirotsu, also a fourth-grader, "so I'm going to make as many leis as I can."

The students sat on the floor at John H. Wilson Elementary School yesterday stringing leis for Memorial Day. They also got help from some moms and a dad.

The leis were to be gathered from schools this morning and placed this weekend on grave sites at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Punchbowl, and at neighbor island veteran cemeteries.

Fresh flowers are getting more scarce, Principal Elsie Hu said. So she let students gather flowers on campus.

By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin
Sarah Turgeon, 10, tries on a garland she made.
The leis were to be gathered statewide today for
distribution at veterans cemeteries.

"There are no flowers at our house," Darcy Hirotsu said. "So I picked the crown flowers from the trees at school."

Nalani Boyne, 9, said she was also going to make leis from flowers at home.

Mahina Haumea, a fourth-grade student council representative, said the leis must measure 20 to 24 inches, explaining the line of masking tape in front of each student.

That means a lot of flowers.

Fourth-grader Sarah Turgeon is familiar with Punchbowl, visiting there "mostly on Saturdays because my grandma is buried there." She recalls seeing lots of flags and flowers on Memorial Day.

By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin
After trying some on to make sure they're the right size,
the kids pose for a picture.

Second-grader Kyle Sakimoto's grandparents are also buried there. As for the leis he was making, he said, "You can't give it to them, so you can put it on their graves."

"Are we going to do this next year?" Darcy asked Hu.

"Yes, every year," Hu replied.

"Yeah!" the kids cheered.

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