Here is everything you need to know on the 34th annual Memorial Day weekend observance at the War Memorial Natatorium in Waikiki:
WHAT: A Memorial Day weekend commemoration of America’s war dead at Hawaii’s official World War I monument. A somber ceremony featuring a military color guard and rifle unit; veterans groups (including a Rolling Thunder veterans motorcycle group ride-in); hula performances; two distinguished speakers; a rifle volley; bag pipes; and the solemn bugle call Taps.
WHEN: The 2022 commemoration begins at 10 a.m. on Sunday, May 29. [Please note: This event is on Sunday, not on the official Monday holiday.]
WHERE: The lawn in front of the War Memorial Natatorium at 2815 Kalakaua Ave., in Waikiki. The Natatorium is Hawaii’s official World War I memorial.
WHO: A contingent of veteran motorcycle riders organized by the American Legion Riders of Hawaii will open the ceremony shortly before 10 a.m., driving through Waikiki to the War Memorial. Also participating are a joint services color guard and an Air Force rifle detail, Halau Hula Olana, and bag pipers from Celtic Kula Pipe Band of Hawaii. The keynote speaker is Lt. Gen. Steven R. Rudder, commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, and commanding general, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific. He is a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq and holds, among other decorations, the Distinguished Flying Cross with Combat “V.” Also speaking is a member of the U.S. swim team at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, Richard “Sonny” Tanabe, who was inducted in 2014 into the Hawaii Waterman Hall of Fame. Veterans group leaders will present lei in memory of the nation’s war dead. A rifle volley and a U.S. Marine bugler sounding Taps will close the event.
WHY: On Memorial Day weekend, Americans honor all our nation’s war dead. At this ceremony, we particularly honor Hawaii’s fallen military men and women; we pay special tribute to 10,000 from Hawaii who volunteered for service in World War I, which ended in 1918, just over a century ago. More than 100 of those 10,000 made the ultimate sacrifice; all Hawaii’s World War I volunteers are recognized at the Natatorium.
The Friends of the Natatorium have sponsored this annual Memorial Day Weekend ceremony since 1989.