Day of Reflection: USAG-HI celebrates Memorial Day

| June 4, 2010 | 0 Comments

Jack Wiers
U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public Affairs

Boy Scout Tyler Yogi, from Mililani’s Troop 664, pays his respects and places a flag encircled by a lei on gravesite 3-L 48 at the Schofield Barracks Post Cemetery. (Loran Doane | U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public Affairs)SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Reminders of America’s history and of personal sacrifice were voiced at Memorial Day ceremonies, here, and throughout the nation, Monday.

Across the country, in various locations and in a variety of ways, the sacrifices of past heroes were remembered. Tributes were voiced in both formal ceremonies and private moments.

At Schofield Barracks’ Post Cemetery, visitors began arriving in the early hours to offer their respect to individual fallen friends and family members, and for veterans and retirees whose remains are buried at the site, which is almost a century old.  

Gravestones bore fresh lei, flowers and miniature American flags placed by families, friends and community members like local Boy and Cub Scout troops.  

The steady stream of people continued to the gravesites throughout the day.

Later in the morning, at the formal Memorial Day ceremony, Col. Matthew Margotta, commander, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, stressed the need to salute and honor all members of the armed forces throughout history.

A lantern floats out into the ocean during the 12th Annual Lantern Floating Hawaii Memorial Day event at Ala Moana Beach Park, in Honolulu. This lantern thanks Soldiers in general, but the back inscription specifically mentions loved ones by name who served their country and have since passed. Part of it reads, “…you made us proud & we will forever miss you & keep your stories alive through our children & our childrens’ children.” (Sgt. 1st Class Joel Quebec | 211th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)“Defending the ideals of our nation has required the service and sacrifice of heroes from every generation,” he said, in his formal address.

Would speaking words, he asked, and placing flowers on graves be enough of a tribute?  

“They did not die for words or wreaths alone; rather, they gave their all for the cause of liberty, so that in freedom, our nation might endure,” Margotta said.

Quoting President Abraham Lincoln, Margotta said, “Any nation that does not honor its heroes will not long endure.”

“To the fallen, to our veterans and to their families, we acknowledge there is no tribute, no commemoration and no praise that can truly match the magnitude of your service and your sacrifice,” Margotta said.

The remembrance ceremony continued with Army veterans from the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Disabled Veterans of America and Vietnam Veterans of America saluting the fallen along with Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Williamson, USAG-HI command sergeant major. 

They laid wreaths at the foot of the flag, which was flying at half-mast.

An honor guard from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 65th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, prepares for a three-volley salute for service men and women interned at Schofield Barracks’ Post Cemetery. (Loran Doane | U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public Affairs)A rifle detail of seven delivered a three-volley salute, followed by the flag being raised from half-staff to the top of the flagpole.  

The ceremony concluded with a single bugler playing taps.

“I will continue to come until I can’t,” said Sammy Houseman, a disabled American veteran who, along with 70 others, viewed the ceremony, here. “There are fewer of us here every year.”

See additional photos at Flickr

Category: Community

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