LIHUE — On Memorial Day 25 years ago, there were no flowers, said Kathleen Langtad, Den mother for Cub Pack 168, sponsored by Immaculate Conception Church.
“The hurricane blew everything away,” Langtad said, unpacking cartons of colorful, sturdy flowers from the trunk of her car Saturday at the Immaculate Conception Cemetery in Kapaia. “There were no flowers to decorate the graves, so we made our own and brought them to the graves.”
That was the start of a tradition in which Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and their parents and friends visited each grave to place a hand-made flower for Memorial Day.
Starting with the cemetery adjoining the church in Kapaia, the tradition expanded over the years to include grave sites at all of the known cemeteries in the Lihue area.
“We started early because there was Mass,” Langtad said. “After we’re finished with this Kapaia cemetery, we’ll move up the road to the Kauai Gardens. We visit the Lihue Public Cemetery, and usually end at Kalapaki Bay Gardens, where it’s so beautiful we end the day with a picnic lunch there.”
The task involves more than 4,000 hand-created flowers.
“We usually start making them in January,” Langtad said.
“Look at my car. It’s full of flowers. We have 4,000 flowers, and hopefully, we don’t run out. If we have extras, we visit the Chinese cemetery behind the Puako subdivision and place them there.”
The tradition was interrupted for about five years when Scouting activities were suspended.
“But thanks to Mary Lardizabal’s efforts, we’re back,” said Langtad, a scouting leader with 43 years of experience. “We have 15 Cubs in Pack 168, including a newly formed Lion’s Den for kindergarten-aged children. There are six Boy Scouts in Troop 168, and we’re looking for more boys.”