‘A lasting tribute’ to nation’s soldiers on Memorial Day

Lest we forget, Memorial Day is the day to remember those who gave their lives in our nation’s wars.

Since the holiday was moved to the last Monday in May, many have lost sight of its significance and use it to celebrate a three-day weekend.

Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawai‘i, introduced a bill in 1989 and faithfully re-introduces it at every new Congress, to restore it to the original day of remembrance, May 30.

Tomorrow Memorial Day services start at 10 a.m. at the Hanapepe Veterans cemetery with the theme with a theme “A Lasting Tribute.”

The guest speaker will be David Iha. There will also be a brief ceremony remembering the POW’s and those missing in action.

Americans have lost their lives in some 85 wars and assorted actions in the past 233 years.

The following are the total number of hostile deaths and wounded from a wars in which Americans fought.

• The Civil War: 204,070 killed, 382,881 wounded.

• World War I: 53,513 killed, 204,002 wounded.

• World War II: 293,121 killed, 670,846 wounded.

• Korean War: 33,741 killed, 103,284 wounded.

• Vietnam War: 47,415 killed, 153,303 wounded.

• Desert Storm: 146 killed, 467 wounded.

• Afghanistan War: 292 killed, 1914 wounded.

• Iraq War: 3,267 killed, 29,676 wounded.


Stimulus payments

Even though April 15 has passed, the Internal Revenue Service is reminding retirees, disabled veterans and others who normally do not file tax returns that they have until Oct. 15 to file a Form 1040A. Qualifying income includes Social Security and VA disability payments.

Taxpayers who have already filed and have an electronic deposit to their banking account should already have received their payment. Check payments are going out based on the last two digits of your social security number. The final payments should be issued in July.


Disability payments

Veteran disability payments cannot be reduced after 10 years, and veterans are protected from it being severed after 20 years except for fraud. If a case is reopened for conditions that have worsened, it may result in an increased disability percentage. If it is found in the resulting examination that it has improved, the disability percentage could be reduced and result in a lower monthly payment.


Diabetes disability compensation

To be eligible for disability compensation, a veteran must have a diagnosis of diabetes and evidence that it began or was aggravated during active duty or within one year of discharge. In 2001, veterans who served in Vietnam and who later developed adult-onset (Type 2) diabetes became eligible for disability compensation on a presumption that the condition was a result of the potential effects of Agent Orange while serving in Vietnam.


Reversing a dishonorable discharge

Each of the military services maintains a discharge review board with the authority to change, correct or modify discharges or dismissals not issued by a sentence of a general courts-martial. The board has no authority to address medical discharges. The veteran may apply for a review by forwarding a completed DD Form 293.

If the discharge was more than 15 years ago, the veteran must petition the appropriate service board of correction of military records using DD Form 149.


Veteran named outstanding American

Richard “Soupbone” Kashiwabara was recognized as the 2008 male Outstanding Older American for Kaua‘i and was honored with a luncheon at the governor’s mansion in Honolulu on May 22.

Kashiwabara, a retired electrician, volunteers this expertise to many organizations, including the Veterans Council, Kaua‘i Hospice, the Farm Bureau and the Okinawan Club.

Almost every weekend and frequently during midweek, he is a volunteer members providing honor guard services at the burials of deceased veterans. Congratulations, Soupbone!


Upcoming events

The Veterans Texas Hold ’Em tournament is scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m. June 18 at the Veterans Center. Flag Day is June 14. The annual Fourth of July veterans round up will be on July 4 at the Veterans Center. For information, call Aida Cruz at 246-1135.


Veteran of the Month

This month, we honor the Commander of the Marine Corps League, Noberto Garcia.

Garcia attended Wilcox Elementary School and then went on to Kapa‘a High School and graduated in 1988. Later that year, Garcia joined the U.S. Marine Corps and was honorably discharged in October 1992.

After boot camp he attended the Hawk Missiles training school at Fort Bliss, Texas, and then was assigned to the Marine Corps station in Yuma, Ariz.

He served in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq.

Garcia is presently with the Kaua‘i Police Department serving as a youth services officer with the D.A.R.E and G.R.E.A.T. programs.

He resides in Puhi with his wife, Leilani, and son Richard.

• Johnny Rabasa, a Hanama‘ulu resident and Kaua‘i High School graduate, served for 30 years in the U.S. Army, retiring as a command sergeant major. He served in Vietnam. He also retired from the U.S. Postal Service, was postmaster at the Kaumakani post office, and worked at the Lihu‘e post office. He writes this monthly column exclusively for The Garden Island.

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