LIHU‘E — There will be no formal Veterans Day observance at the Kaua‘i Veterans Cemetery in Hnapepe on this Veterans Day because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Instead, Christian Lardizabal, an Eagle Scout candidate from Boy Scout Troop 168 of Immaculate Conception Church, will lead dedication and blessing festivities for the mural he created in the foyer of the Kaua‘i Veterans Center starting at 11 a.m. today.
The Eagle Scout project was inspired by Lardizabal’s grandfather, Dr. Raymond “RG” Nemer, of South Dakota, after Nemer relayed the experience from the unveiling of a military wall.
Lardizabal’s troop also helps the Kaua‘i Veterans Center with maintenance and landscaping chores, and the Eagle Scout candidate could not help but notice the blank space between the center’s two entry doors.
Working with artists Trysen Kaneshige and Roni Marco, Lardizabal used the time during the state Department of Education inter-session break to bring the eagle and all it symbolizes to the empty wall.
Because of the ongoing pandemic, Lardizabal hosted a series of garage sales to raise funds for the necessary supplies needed to create the mural.
The project was sponsored by Dr. R. G. and Elayne Nemer of South Dakota, MaryAnn Bode and Susan Sobei, and was approved by Cmdr. Mary Kay Hertog of the Kaua‘i Veterans Council, and Aida Cruz and Tony Blas of the Kaua‘i Veterans Center.
Troop 168 Scoutmasters Jerry Aquias, Kaua‘i Police Department Detective Aaron Lester and Denny Anderson helped coordinate the project, including fellow Scouts Jaden Manibog and Kayde Lester. Pack leaders from Cub Scout Pack 168 Kathleen and George Langtad also helped.
Kaua‘i joins the rest of the state in not hosting any large-gathering observances during the federal, state and county holiday, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Instead, people can join the O‘ahu Veterans Council, which will host a virtual ceremony that will be available on ‘Olelo Channel 49, KITV4, You Tube “Hawai‘i Veterans Day 2020,” and the O‘ahu Veterans Center Facebook page. The programming starts at 11 a.m.
Gov. David Ige will lead off the lineup of speakers that will include Maj. Gen. Susanne Vares-Lum, Maj. Gen. Jamie Jarrard of the 25th Infantry Division, retired Gen. David Bamlett, retired Air Force Gen. Ed Richardson, veteran Brian Hawkins and Chaplain Peter Keogh of the 25th Infantry Division.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.