Photos from the 2017 Natatorium Memorial Day Observance

Brig. Gen. Bryan E. Suntheimer, deputy commanding general (Army National Guard) of the U.S. Army Pacific, represented the active duty military among the program speakers.

Those who were there might like a few memories. Those who couldn’t make it this year might like a hint of what it was all about.

So here are some photos of the 29th annual Memorial Day observance at the War Memorial Natatorium in Waikiki. The occasion was everything the dawn of a beautiful island day had promised.

By 10 a.m., veterans, soldiers and sailors, bikers, surfers, regular folk and passersby had gathered at the Natatorium to pay tribute to those who have laid down their lives in war for the United States of America and for its people.

In song and dance, oratory and military ceremony, and even a paddle-out to the ocean afterwards, those present remembered those who have made the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf. We remembered with special gratitude those from Hawaii who died in World War I, which exactly a century ago was in progress around the globe, and those whose sacrifice came in the Vietnam War, a half-century ago.

You can see many more photos of this somber but spirited remembrance ceremony in a Friends of the Natatorium Flickr album.

American legion riders

American Legion riders and fellow motorcyclists roll in at the Natatorium just before the start of the ceremony.

Young Marine

A member of the Young Marines tends the Hawaii World War I Centennial flag.

The national anthem

Mahealani Sims-Tulba sings the national anthem as a Navy honor guard presents the colors.

Col. Arthur N. Tulak, U.S. Army (ret.), the chairman of the Hawaii World War I Centennial Task Force, delivers the opening address.

Hula Hālau Olana continued its long tradition of performing at the Natatorium Memorial Day observance, evoking the spirit of the occasion through traditional dance, in this case to the song Over the Rainbow.

Maj. Gen. Patrick H. Brady, U.S. Army (ret.), wearing the Medal of Honor he received for heroism as a Vietnam War helicopter pilot and commander, spoke of some of the soldiers he has known, their patriotism and their willingness to sacrifice for country and countrymen.

Veterans and other guests join hands during the singing of Hawaii Aloha.

Medal of Honor recipient Maj. Gen. Patrick H. Brady, U.S. Army (ret.), left, and Command Master Chief Petty Officer Mo Radke, U.S. Navy (ret.) salute a plaque listing the names of more than 100 volunteers from Hawaii who perished in World War I, a century ago.

Veterans present lei to honor Hawaii’s war dead and salute the plaque of those who died in World War I.

Members of the Young Marines salute the plaque.

Members of the Mid-Pacific Surf Club about to paddle out into the ocean after the Memorial Day observance.

In the blue rash guard, Lt. Col. John M. Grauer, deputy chaplain of the U.S. Army Pacific, leads a prayer for America’s war dead as part of the post-observance paddle-out led by Mid-Pacific Surf Club.

Thank yous!

Mahalo, as always, to Greg Concilla, who took these photos. He owns the copyright to the images and has authorized their use by the Friends of the Natatorium.

Mahalo, of course, to everyone who contributed time and talent to this 29th annual commemoration.

And mahalo to you, for taking part, either in person or virtually.

Categories: Friends of the Natatorium, Images, and Memorial Day.


  1. BIll Branson

    Its such a shame that Hawaii can’t honor WWI and all Veterans by rebuilding this landmark facility. I first visited in 1968 while I was on a short R&R leave from Vietnam. I’ve always remembered sitting in the stadium and wondering what a beautiful site this could be. Certainly, someone can take the lead on this.