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
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.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.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.
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.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.
We visited the Natatorium today as part of our Nationa Association of Environmental Professionals conference. We were very impressed. We all came away believing this magnificent historic monument must be preserved and restored. We will be closely following and supporting the effort to save and restore the Natatorium.