Mahalo to everyone — everyone! — who took part in a wonderful 17th Veterans Day observance at the Natatorium!
A standing-room-only crowd of active duty soldiers, veterans from all branches, Young Marines from Kaneohe and civilians came together just outside the War Memorial’s gates to pay tribute to all those from Hawai’i who have served. They remembered especially the 10,000 World War I soldiers and sailors to whom the Natatorium itself is dedicated.
Here is a look at some pictures of the event, and links to some of the local television coverage. We hope you can see yourself there!We are indebted to Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8616 for its sponsorship of this moving annual event. Thanks also to the American Legion Riders and to bikers from the Vietnam Vets Motorcycle Club and other clubs who add such color and dignity to a celebration of service and sacrifice.
All our speakers were inspiring. And a very, very special shout out of thanks to the dozen soldiers from Schofield Barracks who marched more than 11 miles to the Natatorium shouldering 45-pound packs to show their admiration for those who served before them. Their leader, Staff Sgt. Leandro Rocha, deserves the loudest “Mahalo!” of all.
TV News Coverage
In case you missed them, here are links to three great stories on local television stations.
First, Hawai’i News Now got terrific shots of our ruck marchers arriving at the Natatorium through a corridor of American flags.
KITV also had outstanding shots of the soldiers arriving, at as close to a sprint pace as you can manage while carrying 45 pounds on your back. As KITV’s reporter said, over pictures of the soldiers being welcomed with loud cheers and lei, they were carrying their rucks “and so much more.”
“They also carried, pride, honor and dignity,” she said.
And earlier in the day, in pre-dawn darkness before the march began, KITV’s Ryan Tsuji previewed the day’s events in an interview with Michael Soucie, vice commander for District 1, American Legion Department of Hawaii, and a member of the board of the Friends of the Natatorium. Thanks for getting up at 0h-Dark-30, Michael!