Events mark welcoming home of soldiers, rubberized track

It will be like deja vu all over again when most of the citizen-soldiers of the Hawaii Army National Guard, recently back from a tour of duty in Iraq, gather once again at Vidinha Stadium.

They gathered there for ceremonies honoring them before their deployment.

This time around, early next month, they are the guests of honor in a parade from the historic County Building, down Rice Street to Ho‘olako Street, to Vidinha Stadium.

Included in the day’s events will be the blessing of the new, rubberized track at the stadium.

Mayor Bryan J. Baptiste and his staff members are planning the parade to welcome home Hawaii Army National Guard and Hawaii Air National Guard soldiers, he said in a press release.

The parade begins at 10 a.m. on March 4.

Governor Linda Lingle, Baptiste and Maj. Gen. Robert G.F. Lee, Hawaii National Guard adjutant general, are among the dignitaries who will be leading the parade.

Other participants include members of high-school bands, JROTC cadets, other veterans and military representatives, and the honorees, the soldiers themselves.

The blessing of the new rubberized track at Vidinha Stadium will begin at 11 a.m.

At 11:45 a.m., the Welcome Home Soldiers Program begins.

The program will include messages from Lingle, Baptiste, Lee, and others. Presentation of certificates and lei to the soldiers will be followed by live entertainment.

The program is scheduled to conclude at 2 p.m.

For additional information on the events, call Beverley Pang, 241-6392, Theresa Koki, 241-6246, or Kaui Tanaka at 241-6300.

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