Maui News

Lei from Maui honors fallen heroes for Memorial Day

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Memorial Day lei making. Mayor Michael Victorino is pictured helping staff Kristina Cabbat, Melissa Agtunong, Shirley Blackburn and LeeAnn Nomura Matsui string lei as part of the Sew a Lei for Memorial Day project. PC: County of Maui

Maui residents donated fresh flowers and ti-leaves to the Office of the Mayor to make lei in honor of fallen heroes on Memorial Day.

The lei was sent for placement at gravesites at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl in Honolulu.

“Most American communities honor fallen soldiers by placing flags on their graves on Memorial Day, but in Hawaiʻi, we offer lei instead,” Mayor Victorino said in a social media post. “The tradition of making a lei with thoughts of aloha still stands, even if we don’t know the recipient.”

In a separate effort, the County of Maui, Department of Housing and Human Concerns in partnership with Kaonoa Senior Services hosted a drive-through drop off for ti-leaf leis on Friday, with all leis going to fallen heroes throughout Maui County.

On Maui, the Maui County Veterans Council presents a Memorial Day observance at the Makawao Veterans Cemetery at 3355 Baldwin Ave. in Makawao. The program begins Monday, May 30, at 8:30 a.m. General parking is located across the street.

Memorial Day 21-Gun Salute on Ford Island

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Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam will be firing a 21-gun salute in honor of Memorial Day beginning at noon on Monday, May 30.  Personnel on the installation and the areas surrounding the waterfront may hear gunfire from the 40-mm saluting battery on Ford Island.  

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Although the military gun salute is a centuries old practice for rendering honors, US Navy regulations first prescribed the specific manner for rendering salutes in 1818.  The regulations required that “When the President shall visit a ship of the United States Navy he is to be saluted with 21 guns.” 

Today, the 21-gun salute is fired in honor of a nation’s flag, the sovereign or chief of state of a foreign nation, a member of a reigning royal family, and the President, former-Presidents, and a President-elect of the United States.  Salutes are also fired at noon of the day of the funeral of a President, former-Presidents, or a President-elect, on Washington’s Birthday, Presidents’ Day, and the Fourth of July.  

On Memorial Day, the last Monday in May, a salute of 21 guns is fired, one round per minute beginning at noon.  During the salute, the National Ensign is flown at half-mast, in order that we honor and remember those who died in active military service.

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