LIHUE — Lei that will decorate graves at the Kauai Veterans Cemetery started arriving Thursday afternoon at the Kauai Veterans Center.
More than 500 lei created by Kilauea School, Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School, and the Elsie Wilcox Elementary School, were spread out over the tables in the center conference room. Lei created by schools on the Westside dropped their loads directly at Wong’s Restaurant for refrigeration until Monday’s Memorial Day serices at the Kauai Veterans Cemetery in Hanapepe, said Aida Cruz of the Kauai Veterans Center.
“These are lei that will decorate our veterans cemetery,” Cruz said. “Last year, Kauai Complex Area Superintendent William Arakaki said all the lei created by our Kauai students will stay here instead of being shipped to Oahu. These are lei created by our keiki for our veterans.”
The early arrival of lei are in refrigerators through the courtesy of Wong’s Restaurant until Monday morning when the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts will place the lei on individual graves along with American flags.
“This is so beautiful,” said Gen. Mary Kay Hertog, Kauai Veterans Council commandant. “They not only smell sweet, they’re so pretty and is the perfect touch to pay tribute to our people who paid the ultimate price for freedom. The Kauai Veterans Council wants to thank all those who took the time and effort to create these lei.”
The Kauai Veterans Council will host the annual Memorial Day service Monday starting at 10 a.m., with appearances by Hawaii Senate President Ron Kouchi, state Reps. Nadine Nakamura and James Tokioka, and other government leaders.
Waimea High School will be offering the services of its band under the direction of David Leong, and the JROTC units under Major (Ret.) Victor Aguilar, which will be participating with their Honor Guard and Color Guard.
Additional lei were created by Grove Farm Company employees, continuing a tradition they started several years ago where they harvest flowers from the various company properties and sew lei in their Puhi office.
“Everyone was working full force Thursday,” said Sharyl Lam Yuen of the Grove Farm Foundation. “We had five of the ‘Golden Girls’ from Regency at Puakea — Lillian Takanishi, Jessie Hirano, Hannah Furuta, Hatsuko Kawaguchi and Shimoe Mukai — joining our office crew in sewing. Hazel Shimabukuro, the mother of one of our people, also joined in the effort.”
Lam Yuen said a floral donation from Liz Aguino helped the group meet its goal of making at least 200 lei for the graves.
“Liz said she was glad to help,” Lam Yuen said. “Her husband is a veteran and is here. Her son is also a veteran, but is deceased.”
Kathleen Langtad, cubmaster for Cub Scout Pack 168, led both Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts from Troop 168 Saturday when the group embarked on their annual Good Turn project of placing floral creations at the gravesites of about five cemeteries in the Lihue-Puhi area.