The 25th Natatorium Memorial Day Service | Sunday, May 26

Inspiring oratory. Celebration in song and dance. Precision military pageantry. The solemn sounding of “Taps.” Most of all: A chance to remember, honor and give thanks.

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Presentation of the colors at the 2012 service

You’ll want to join us for the 25th annual Memorial Day weekend observance at the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium. It’s at 10 a.m. on Sunday, May 26 – the day before Memorial Day – on the Kapiolani Park lawn in front of the Natatorium.

Memorial Day weekend is, of course, all about exactly what the War Memorial Natatorium itself is all about: Our obligation never to forget.

We remember the sacrifices of those – and especially those from Hawai’i – who died in World War I and all of America’s wars. And we remember, honor and support the men and women – and especially those from Hawai’i – who have served and continue to serve in America’s armed forces.

Speakers and Guests

It will be an outstanding program:

Lt. Gen. Wiercinski briefs reporters at the Pentagon

Representing active duty military personnel at the podium will be Lt. Gen. Francis J. (Frank) Wiercinski, commander, U.S. Army Pacific. The general – who will retire shortly after a distinguished 34-year career – served in Iraq in 2006 and 2007 as deputy commander of Multinational Division-North. He was also a brigade combat team commander in the 101st Airborne in Afghanistan in 2001 and 2002. A 1979 West Point graduate, his decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal and Bronze Star with “V.”

Speaking for veterans and for the families of Natatorium honorees will be retired U.S. Army Reserve lieutenant colonel Kenrock (Ken) K.S. Higa. He is a grandnephew of Pvt. John Rupert Rowe, the first of Hawaii’s sons killed in combat in World War I, who died in France on July 31, 1918. Mr. Higa’s great-grandmother, Rebecca Rowe, was Hawaii’s first Gold Star mother.

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In 2012: A dancer from Hula Hālau Olana

Special guest Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, will also present remarks.

The Joint Base Pearl Harbor/Hickam Honor Guard, Hula Hālau Olana, fourth graders from Waikiki Elementary School, and others will contribute their talents to a memorable occasion. Pre-ceremony music begins at 9 a.m.

Natatorium Memorial Day Service: Details

What: The 25th Annual Memorial Day Service sponsored by the Friends of the Natatorium
Who: You, your ohana and your friends
Where: Kapiolani Park at the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium
When: Sunday, May 26, 10 a.m. [Sunday: The day before Memorial Day]
Come early: Music begins at 9 a.m.
Tented seating will be available.

Make a Day of it at the Natatorium

You don’t have to leave when the service is over. After all, the Natatorium was built so that we could honor war heroes by enjoying with our families the freedom for which their sacrifices paid.

So gather your ohana for a picnic in Kapiolani Park, or take them for a swim at Sans Souci Beach, a beautiful spot just Diamond Head of the Natatorium. (The beach exists, by the way, only because the Natatorium’s seawalls are there to protect it.)

Either way, be sure to spend a few moments looking at the Natatorium itself, reflecting on the men and women in whose honor it stands. And in whose honor, we hope, it will one day reopen.

Categories: Events, Friends of the Natatorium, Memorial Day, Uncategorized, and Veterans.