With the number of World War II veterans dwindling every day, and with an unprecedented deployment of Hawaii troops to modern conflicts overseas, Thursday brings a powerful opportunity to remember and honor the dedication and sacrifice of our armed forces. The islands have strong ties to the military, and Veterans Day observances will take place all over the state.
The grand and solemn National Cemetary of the Pacific will host the annual Veterans Day Ceremony at 10 a.m. on Thursday morning, organized by the The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). It’ll include a traditional flyover and an artillery 21-gun salute.
Meanwhile, at the same hour in Wahiawa, the Wahiawa Lions are sponsoring “Supporting Our Troops,” the 59th annual Veterans Day Parade up California Avenue. Retired Navy Chief Petty Officer Jim Quinn will serve as Grand Marshal, and Brigadier General Vern Miyagi of the Hawaii Army National Guard will be the featured speaker. For more information, call 621-6654.
Early Thursday afternoon, the Governor will lead the Veterans Day Ceremony at the Hawaii State Veterans Cemetary in Kaneohe. It will include a musical prelude by the 111th Army Band at 1:00 p.m.
If Thursday isn’t enough, the Honolulu Symphony‘s Veterans Day Tribute concerts will take place at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 12 and 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 14. George Takei, best known for his role as Sulu in the original “Star Trek” television and movie series, will narrate Aaron Copland’s “A Lincoln Portrait.” The program includes George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” for piano and orchestra, and Copland’s Symphony No. 3, and also features Thomas Yee on piano. Maestro Samuel Wong directs.
Veterans Day is Nov. 11 in honor of the formal end of World War I hostilities at 11 a.m., November 11, 1918 (the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month). The day, then marking the “war to end all wars,” became known as “Armistice Day.” Sadly, the name had to be changed as America went to war again. And again.
Photos are from Memorial Day observances in May 2000.