The Veterans Day parade set to march through the streets of Kapa’a town on Saturday is the only one scheduled in Hawai’i this year.
U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, former state legislator and Kapa’a resident Billy Fernandes, who will serve as the parade’s grand marshal, and a Gold Star mother from Kaua’i have been invited to attend the event and will be honored, Date said.
Inouye is a member of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and recipient of the Medal of Honor for his service in World War II. Fernandes served in the merchant marine during the war and Gold Star mother Yoshiko Kawamura lost her son, Gary Kawamura, in combat during the Vietnam War.
“The Kaua’i Veterans Day parade is the only parade that is being conducted, at this point. It will reflect the support Kaua’i has for its veterans,” said retired Army Col. Kenneth K. Date, a Kaua’i resident. “We are proud to say that.”
Date said other islands don’t hold them possibly “because there is little interest.”
Veterans Day is celebrated nationwide Nov. 11, the anniversary of the armistice that needed World I in 1918.
The 34th annual Kaua’i Veterans Day parade is being held earlier due to scheduling, Date said.
Date urged residents and visitors to attend the ceremony, which recognizes the “contributions made by our veterans who have fought wars in defense of our country.”
“Certainly, had we not won World War II, our country would have been a lot different today,” Date said. “We sometimes forget the sacrifice the veterans made to protect our American way of life. Veterans Day is a time to remember.”
The parade will start at the Kapa’a Hongwangi and Burger King at 10 a.m., run along Kuhio Highway and end at the Kapa’a Beach Park, where a closing ceremony will be held, Date said.
While parade participants make their way through Kapa’a town, traffic will be diverted to the Kapa’a bypass road.
More than 300 marchers, including members of the 25th Infantry Lightning Band from Schofield Barracks on O’ahu and the Hawai’i Army and Air Force National Guard, are expected to participate in the parade.
Also marching are the Junior ROTC from Kapa’a High School and Waimea High School, and representatives from numerous service and business organizations that support veterans, Date said.
The groups include Wal-Mart, Bank of Hawaii, Kapa’a Business Association, American Heart Association, the Kaua’i branch of the American Red Cross, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, the Kapa’a Lions Club, Kaua’i Shriners Club and Kapa’a Rotary Club and the Hawaii Filipino Community Council, Date said.
A handful of floats also will make their way down the parade route, including two from the Bank of Hawaii and one from Hawaii Filipino.
Maj. Gen. Edward Correa, the state adjutant general, will be the reviewing officer for the parade.
The parade is sponsored by the Kauai Veterans Council, which includes veterans from the 100th Battalion, the 442nd, Korean War veterans, Vietnam-era veterans, merchant marine veterans, the Marine Corp League, the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Association of Purple Heart.