LIHU‘E — COVID-19 and its accompanying rules, mandates and measures to prevent its spread in the community has created a wealth of changes and adjustments in the community’s tribute and mahalo to veterans.
The annual Veterans Day Parade hosted by the Kaua‘i Veterans Council was not permitted due to concerns about large gatherings contributing to the spread of the novel coronavirus.
This led the council to come up with the sold-out, first Veterans Day Golf Tournament that will enjoy a shotgun start Sunday at the Kaua‘i Timbers Resort Hokuala Ocean Course under strict COVID-19 rules, including the use of face masks, limitation of one golfer per cart, no post-tourney lu‘au, and more.
Bart Thomas, KVC vice commander, said the organization still needs funds for its operations and the military museum in the Kaua‘i Veterans Center, and was the impetus that created the golf tournament as a source of revenue during the pandemic.
Janice Bond, East Kaua‘i Lions Club president, is also affected by the lack of a parade.
“The Lions Clubs, with many of its members who are veterans, hosted an American flag-waving Saturday on Rice Street fronting the Historic County Building, as a mahalo to veterans,” Bond said.
“Many of the clubs’ — not just East Kaua‘i Lions Club — members are veterans. Additionally, we have Rachel Graff, the daughter of the East Kaua‘i Lions Club Treasurer Larry Graff, visiting. She is on active duty with the U.S. Army and will be joining the group.”
Bond said the Boy Scouts wanted to join the flag-waving, but the county advised her that only 25 people would be allowed at the event because of social-gathering protocols.
Traditionally, the Boy Scouts would be cleaning headstones and graves on the Saturday ahead of the annual Veterans Day observance.
This year, the Wednesday, Nov. 11 formal observance will not take place because of COVID-19.
That did not stop the Scouts from Troop 334, sponsored by Holy Cross Church in Kalaheo, from doing a service project.
Saturday, the Troop gathered at the Haleko Road trainyard to help Grove Farm Museum Engineer Scott Johnson change out some of the rail ties that have been weathered from exposure to the elements for the past 15 years.
The gesture comes in time for the reopening of the museum on Nawiliwili Road to tours starting Monday, Nov. 16.
“There’s still work that needs doing to the railway,” Johnson said. “But the focus right now is to open the museum. We’ll keep working on the trains, but we need to open the museum.”
Something that is not affected by the pandemic is the opening of the Kaua‘i Veterans Cemetery in Hanapepe to the public.
Announcements on local radio stations are inviting people and families to visit the graves, and for groups creating lei for placement on headstones, the lei can be dropped off at the Kaua‘i Veterans Center by noon Tuesday, Nov. 10. Face masks are required, and visitors are encouraged to observe social distancing and refrain from large-group gatherings.
Veterans Day falls on Wednesday, Nov. 11, with a dedication ceremony for the mural created by Boy Scout Christian Lardizabal of Troop 168 of Immaculate Conception Church as his Eagle Scout project.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.