Preparing a Memorial Day tribute

PUHI — Jessie Hirano said she was having filet mignon for lunch Wednesday at the Grove Farm Co.

“They recruited me,” Hirano said. “My husband Kei is a veteran of the Korean War and is interned at the Hanapepe Veterans Cemetery. Shawn Shimabukuro and Sharyl Lam Yuen came and said I could have lunch if I came to help them. They even came to pick me up.”

Lam Yuen said this is the seventh year that Grove Farm has sewn lei which will be placed at the Hanapepe Veterans Cemetery for the Memorial Day service at 10 a.m. Monday.

“We wanted to ensure the lei stays on Kauai,” Lam Yuen said. “We got the flowers from our lei garden located next to the Regency at Puakea, and some of the Grove Farm friends brought in more flowers.”

Linda Inouye has been coordinating the effort with Johnette Chun, adjutant for the Kauai Veterans Council, host of the annual service which remembers those who paid the ultimate price for freedom.

“Last year, we sent out 165 lei,” Inouye said. “This year, our goal is at least 200 lei. However, we have lots of flowers so it wouldn’t surprise me if we reach 300 lei.”

Thursday morning, the Grove Farm employees were joined by the Kauai Veterans Council in packing the 277 lei created by the Grove Farm employees.

“They just kept making lei,” Inouye said. “They wouldn’t quit. They just kept going until we ran out of flowers.”

The lei help adorn the headstones for the more than 1,500 graves in the cemetery.

The Memorial Day weekend is not limited to just the Hanapepe Veterans Cemetery.

Mary Lardizabal, representing Kathy Langtad, the Den Leader for Cub Scout Pack 168 sponsored by the Immaculate Conception Church, will also be decorating graves.

“Our Scouts will be doing their Good Turn project,” Lardizabal said. “Saturday, they will be placing flowers we made at the cemeteries in Lihue for Memorial Day. We still start at the Immaculate Conception Church and finish at the county cemetary located behind the Department of Water.”

Boy Scouts from other troops will be helping the Kauai Veterans Council by sprucing up the Hanapepe Veterans Cemetery as well as assisting with the placement of American flags, lei and flowers at the graves ahead of the Monday service.

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