Saturday, May 28, 2022 |
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HANAPEPE — Several hundred people on Veterans Day, Friday, were on the same page as Tom Iannucci, who said during his invocation that people need to be still and reflect on the sacrifices of veterans.
“I see people from Walmart, the Shell station, government and the community,” he said. “I see how veterans are woven into the fabric of Kaua‘i.”
Gary Heu, representing Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. who was in attendance at the Asian Pacific Economic Conference on O‘ahu, said everyone is guilty of being so busy we do not have the time to be still and remember.
“Lives today are shaped by veterans who are ready and willing to serve,” Heu said.
Hosted by the Kaua‘i Veterans Council, the annual Veterans Day ceremony was held at the 11th hour on the 11th day, in accordance with the armistice which was signed ending the hostilities of World War II.
“My dad is 100 years old, today,” said Harvey Maeda, head of the Kaua‘i Classic Cars.
Maeda arranged for a convoy of vintage classics which lined the avenue to the Hanapepe Veterans Cemetery, where the ceremony was held. “He was a veteran with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and went to Bruyeres, France, with Turk Tokita and the boys.”
Maeda said the cars lining the avenue belonged to Vietnam War veterans, headed by a classic Ford owned by Vietnam veteran Terry Daligdig, holder of five Purple Hearts.
“It’s an honor and privilege to be here,” said Capt. Nicholas Mongillo, commander of the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Mana. “Today we see veterans representing decades of veterans and future service warriors in the Waimea High School Jr. ROTC. We pause in solemn remembrance of service by veterans. The United States flourishes as the brightest beacon of freedom because of your service.”
Mongillo said Friday’s service was of significance because it represented the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War where his uncle served after being drafted.
“When he returned in 1970, in his dress blues (of the United States Marine Corps), I was proud of him,” Mongillo said. “But there were others who vented their frustrations over the young soldier. There were many others who returned to a nation who never considered them heroes.”
He said 58,000 people lost their lives during the Vietnam War, 58,000 names which are now inscribed in the Vietnam Wall memorial which helped heal the injustice to the soldiers who returned.
Robin Sanchez served as the master of ceremonies, noting that it takes a whole community to make the event successful, including the Kaua‘i Veterans Council and the many veterans organizations, Christine Calzado, Millie Curtis, the Boy Scouts of America, Aloha Council, Troops 83 and 148, the Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School Leadership Class who spent several hours, Thursday, laying out lei on graves, the Kaua‘i United Buddhist Women’s Association, Lonesome Grave Project, for the flowers for the graves, the West Kaua‘i Lions Club, Kaua‘i Coffee Company, the County’s Department of Parks and Recreation, Raymond Duarte and many more.
• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.
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