Remembering veterans

LIHUE — The public is invited to the Memorial Day Observance at 10 a.m. Monday at the Kauai Veterans Cemetery in Hanapepe, said Stu Burley of the U.S. Navy League.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is scheduled to deliver the keynote address.

Preparations for the service are in full swing as symbols of Memorial Day appear along shopping centers, and community groups and organizations sew lei to decorate the Kauai Veterans Cemetery.

“Grove Farm is supporting us with lei again this year,” said Aida Cruz of the Kauai Veterans Center. “Others have expressed support as well. We are asking if they want to donate lei, they need to bring them to the Kauai Veterans Center by Saturday. I will be there from 8 a.m. to noon to accept contributions of lei that are sturdy enough to last until Monday.”

The Grove Farm Company had a goal of making 300 lei on Thursday, getting the help of the “Golden Ladies” from the Regency at Puakea.

“This is quite an honor,” said Jessie Hirano, a Regency resident. “Last year, it was just myself. My husband Kei, a veteran of the Korean War, is at the Kauai Veterans Cemetery. This year, four other ladies, including Barbara Haruki, the mother of Grove Farm CEO and president Warren Haruki, Jane Hiranaka, Lillian Makizuru and Kazue Taniguchi, joined us.”

Flowers and materials for the lei come from the Lei Garden at the golf course, said Dave Hinazumi. The garden was one of Warren Haruki’s visions.

Over at the Kukui Grove Center, American flags sprouted along the Kaumualii Highway perimeter Thursday.

“Memorial Day is a time to reflect on the sacrifices made by our Veterans and their families in service to our country,” said Wade Lord, general manager for Kukui Grove. “Kukui Grove is proud to honor these heroes and their service.”

Troy Hypolite, a retired U.S. Army First Sergeant, supervised the effort at Kukui Grove. The shopping center puts up the flags on patriotic observances, including the Fourth of July and Veterans Day.

Major Victor Aguilar, director of the Waimea High School JROTC program, had his troops observe a short Memorial Day tribute, including the presentation of colors by the Color Guard, the rendering of the national and state anthems, and the presentation of “Memorial Day Taps” by Krystal Papa on Wednesday preceding the weekly Chef’s Demonstrations at The Kauai Culinary Market at The Shops at Kukuiula.

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