We’re proud to announce that the 138,000-member National Association for Uniformed Services has endorsed our efforts to save, rehabilitate and reopen the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium. Logo of the National Association for Uniformed Services

NAUS is a nationwide veterans organization, founded in 1968 to advocate for veterans and to protect their benefits and those earned by those now in uniform.

“The Right Thing to Do”

In a letter to the Friends of the Natatorium, the association’s president and CEO, retired Marine lieutenant general Jack W. Klimp, called on government leaders in Honolulu and Hawaii “to look beyond the years of neglect and inactivity.” He urged them to adopt “a proactive position” to preserve the Natatorium, Hawaii’s official state memorial to more than 10,000 men and women from the islands who volunteered for service in World War I.

“Rehabilitation of the Natatorium for use by all is the right thing to do and now is the right time to do it,” Klimp wrote.

“We believe the Natatorium should and must be reopened and experienced again as a place of remembrance, reverence and recreation, as those who came before us intended,” Klimp wrote. “Any other course of action would be a failure of honor and an insult to the memory of our military warriors.”

Well said.

Read the NAUS Endorsement

You can read the entire NAUS endorsement letter here.

Mahalo to our friends and new allies at NAUS for their dedication to veterans and service members, and for their support of the Natatorium.

A New Year’s Eve “Mahalo” for your outstanding support in 2014. This has been a year of important progress in the fight to save and reopen the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium.

An Amazing Year for the Natatorium

Twilight falls on the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium In 2014, the National Trust for Historic Preservation declared the Natatorium one of America’s Treasures, and put its resources – and its terrific, experienced, knowledgeable and dedicated staff – behind our effort.

In 2014, you turned out in large numbers for an open meeting on the city’s environmental impact study, demonstrating major public support for the preservation option.

EIS comments 8-22-14

Your comments delivered!

In 2014, you – more than 1,160 of you – overwhelmed the City and County of Honolulu by submitting your official written comments on the EIS process.

In 2014, the Natatorium issue got important national news media coverage [here, for instance, and here]. Your efforts won major endorsements, from, among others, the American Legion’s national executive committee and the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission.

Veterans

Veterans Day at the Natatorium. (Credit: Don Machado)

In 2014, you contributed your hard-earned dollars to the cause through the Friends of the Natatorium and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

And, of course, in 2014, we all came together at the Natatorium to do what the Natatorium was built to do: to honor our veterans, especially those 10,000 from Hawaii who volunteered for service in World War I. We were there on Memorial Day. We were there on Veterans Day. We were there for our special Friday sunset observances.

Mahalo. Mahalo. Mahalo. We can’t thank you enough.

Year-end Reflections

And now 2014, the centennial year of the outbreak of World War I, is ending. We thought we’d leave you for the year with this remarkable New York Times story.

Photos from the New York Times story

Photos from the New York Times story

It tells of a historian’s visit to the place where the “Great War” ended, a small stone marker in the forest of the Argonne in eastern France. That stone pinpoints the very place where the war’s last casualty – an American soldier — was shot and killed, one minute before the Armistice took effect.

The story also tells how the French people – nearly a century later – remember the war, preserve its memories and its monuments, and revere the doughboys who they say ended the conflict and the senseless carnage: “Les Américains.”

The French remember and honor our nation’s doughboys, including those 10,000 volunteers from Hawaii. May we never forget and dishonor them by allowing our monument to them – the War Memorial Natatorium in Waikiki – to be demolished.

We’ll see you in 2015. Again, mahalo. And aloha.

A new tradition has begun.

Bagpiper Kim Greeley patrolled the main gate of the Natatorium Friday at sunset, playing Coming Home and Amazing Grace before sounding Taps. She played in memory of more than 10,000 World War I veterans from Hawaii; it was in their honor that the Natatorium was conceived, built and opened in 1927 for the enjoyment of all Hawaii residents and visitors.

The Friends of the Natatorium intend to repeat this remembrance ceremony most Friday evenings as the sun goes down. Kim and her pipes, or sometimes a bugler, will perform the somber, sorrowful and soulful traditional end-of-day bugle call that is Taps. We’d love for you to join us whenever you’re in the area.

Kim is a professional piper from Honolulu who dedicates her talent and skill to help the rest of us remember the sacrifices of those who served in uniform. She proudly wears a kilt made in 1943 and given to her by her bagpipe teacher, now deceased, who was himself a veteran of both World War I and World War II.

Mahalo, Kim! You play beautifully and do great honor to the memory of our soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen and women, and coast guards.

We all can help

Not all of us have Kim’s musical talent, but we all can help to preserve the Natatorium to honor Hawaii’s veterans and provide safe ocean recreation for generations of keiki to come.

We thank you for all you have done this year, including the deluge of comments you submitted for consideration during the city’s environmental impact study. We’ll call on you again next year, when a draft EIS is expected to be released.

In the meantime, you may want to consider a yearend gift to the effort to save our Natatorium. The Friends of the Natatorium would be honored by your support. See our contributions page for information on where to send your gift, or support us through Paypal with the “Donate” link on the right side of this page.

Mahalo to all our friends and supporters.

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