Monday, May 31, 1999


By George F. Lee, Star-Bulletin
Greg Nash, left, and Nathan Lehano survey the graves at the
National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl yesterday.
Nearly 2,000 Boy Scouts helped plant flags for Memorial Day.

‘Those who paid
the ultimate price’
are honored

More than 400 veterans join
Mayor Harris for a breakfast buffet
at the Punchbowl lookout

By Gregg K. Kakesako


On this last Memorial Day of the century, Hawaii remembered those who sacrificed.

At ceremonies at the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Punchbowl crater, at the Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery in Kaneohe and at the USS Arizona Memorial, where a half-size replica of the Vietnam Wall concludes a weeklong visit, Hawaii's veterans were remembered.

Mayor Jeremy Harris, in his prepared remarks at Punchbowl, said "this day belongs to those who paid the ultimate price to secure peace.

"It belongs to those who died so that we might have a future -- one they never lived to see. They sacrificed so that we might live in an open society, have equality under the law, elect a government of our choice, enjoy unparalleled opportunity and have the best quality of life in the world."

Harris also noted that across town on the shores of Waikiki Beach stands another memorial -- the Natatorium, which has been closed for 20 years.

By Kathryn Bender, Star-Bulletin
Veteran Mr. Ramirez, who didn't give his first name, sits at
the grave of Harold Hunt, whom he served with in Vietnam,
before today's Memorial Day ceremonies at the National
Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl.

Harris said the Waikiki Natatorium has become "a symbol of disrespect and decay instead of a memorial to life and the lives of those who served in the 'War to End All Wars.'"

However, the mayor said he expects the World War I memorial to be fully restored next year and "again be a fitting tribute to these heroes as well as a focal point for family recreations."

Harris looked over the Punchbowl crater, where the 40,000 gravestones were decorated by 2,500 Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts with miniature American flags and leis. He said 50 years ago, four years after the war ended in the Pacific, Punchbowl cemetery was dedicated in a 33-minute ceremony.

There, 12,000 soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines were buried after dying in places such as Saipan, Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.


By George F. Lee, Star-Bulletin
U.S. Marine Corps and Vietnam veteran Roland Talbot was one
of the many veterans who attended a candlelight ceremony at Punchbowl
ast night, on the eve of Memorial Day. The ceremony was sponsored
by Vietnam Veterans Post 10583 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Harris also praised the efforts of Sen. Daniel Akaka, who has spearheaded the move to recognize the courage and sacrifice of the 100th Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

It is through Akaka's efforts that 21 of these nisei soldiers, including U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, who lost his right arm fighting the Germans in Italy, are now being considered for the Medal of Honor.

Today's 50th-anniversary Punchbowl ceremony ended with a 21-cannon salute from an artillery unit of the 25th Infantry Division and a missing-man flyover by F-15 jet fighters from the Hawaii Air National Guard.

Following the ceremony, more than 400 veterans were expected to join Harris for a breakfast buffet at Punchbowl's lookout. Tents were erected to offer shade for the veterans where a light breakfast of coffee and pastries was served.

In addition to the observances at Punchbowl and the state veterans cemetery, where Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono was guest speaker, events were held at the Pearl Harbor Submarine Base Memorial, the America Friends Service Committee picnic in Makua, and an evening ceremony at the Arizona Memorial.

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