Hawaii honors the fallen

| April 5, 2013 | 3 Comments
Hawaii is one of only three states that honors its fallen service members with its own Medal of Honor. (Photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael Holzworth)

Hawaii is one of only three states that honors its fallen service members with its own Medal of Honor. (Photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael Holzworth)

Story and photos by
Sgt. Daniel Schroeder
25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division

HONOLULU — Marines, Airmen, Sailors and Soldiers could be seen entering the State Capitol building, here, with strong emotions across their faces.

The service members gathered with state officials and civilians to honor their fallen comrades during a Hawaii Medal of Honor (HMOH) ceremony, March 27.

The Hawaii State Senate and Hawaii State House of Representatives awarded the medal to 19 fallen service members.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Shawn Hansen (left), 25th CAB, 25th ID, accepts the HMOH from House Speaker Joseph Souki (center) and Maj. Gen. Darryll D.M. Wong, adjutant general for the State of Hawaii, on behalf of his fallen comrade, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Brian Hornsby, during a ceremony at the State Capitol, March 27.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Daniel Hansen (left), 25th CAB, 25th ID, accepts the HMOH from House Speaker Joseph Souki (center) and Maj. Gen. Darryll D.M. Wong, adjutant general for the State of Hawaii, on behalf of his fallen comrade, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Brian Hornsby, during a ceremony at the State Capitol, March 27.

Of the fallen heroes honored, eight medals were presented to members of the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division.

“In offering the Hawaii Medal of Honor to those who gathered here, in memory of those who have fallen, we recognize that they are part of us, part of our ohana,” said Rep. K. Mark Takai, chairman for the Committee on Veterans, Military and International Affairs, and Culture and the Arts.

“The medal guarantees that they will never be forgotten,” Takai said. “I hope that the children of these heroes will one day appreciate the sacrifices that their fathers and their mothers made on behalf of all of us.”

As of Dec. 31, 2012, the state of Hawaii has awarded the HMOH to 327 service members with Hawaii ties.

Hawaii is one of three states that honor their fallen service members this way.

“I’m astounded about what the state has done for the military, Marines, Soldiers, Coast Guard, everybody,” said Tom Logan, who received the HMOH on behalf of his son, Marine Cpl. Joseph Logan.

“I never realized how much love they have for this country’s Soldiers,” Logan said. “It’s a feeling you can’t express sometimes.”

In 2005, the Hawaii State Legislature passed Act 21 from House Bill 8, which began the HMOH in order to “help express the deep appreciation and gratitude of the people of Hawaii to the loved ones of members of the military who sacrificed their lives in defense of our nation and its freedoms.”

Col. Frank Tate, commander, 25th CAB, 25th ID, greets and expresses his condolences during the ceremony.

Col. Frank Tate, commander, 25th CAB, 25th ID, greets and expresses his condolences during the ceremony.

Members of the fallen heroes’ units attended the ceremony to show their gratitude and pay tribute to their comrades; however, the emotions from the guests in attendance were minute compared to the emotions of family members.

“The most difficult part of losing someone is the families with little children,” said Takai, upon presenting the weeping daughter of Marine Master Sgt. Travis Riddick with her father’s medal.

“I hope that in the future, the children will understand how important their father is to many others and people from Hawaii,” said Takai.

Riddick’s daughter was not the only family member whose emotions were evident during the ceremony.

“This ceremony put us over the top,” Logan said. “He was our G.I. Joey; that’s what we called him. They say the children emulate the parents; I didn’t realize it until all this happened, what our kids were doing. They were paying attention, and I’m grateful for it.”

Lt. Gen. Francis Wiercinski (left), commander, U.S. Army-Pacific, talks with Gov. Neil Abercrombie prior to the HMOH ceremony.

Lt. Gen. Francis Wiercinski (left), commander, U.S. Army-Pacific, talks with Gov. Neil Abercrombie prior to the HMOH ceremony.

After taking part in the ceremony, Logan was inspired to bring the honor of remembering the fallen to his home state.

“I am going to take this legislation back to Texas,” Logan said. “Texas has lost 613 (service members), and California has even more. A lot of families are affected by the loss of a Soldier. What happens is a tragedy. With losing a son or daughter, the feelings don’t go away. They stay there.”

With his military past, Takai has had to deal with the loss of fellow service members.

“We see the pain in both the children and grandparents,” Takai said. “The military has been such an important part of our history.

“Our military is part of our Hawaii ohana,” Takai added. “The state cares about the Soldier, the family and the person the family lost. We will continue to do this.”

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Category: News, Observances

Comments (3)

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  1. Julianne Lowman says:

    Hawaii honors the fallen- NAME CORRECTION: In the photo, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Shawn Hansen (left), is misnamed. The correct name should be Danny Hansen.

    • haw says:

      Thank you for informing us of the misidentification of CWO3 Hansen. His first name has been properly changed to Daniel in the photo online. Again, thank you for the alert.

      • Steven Hansen says:

        I want to express my thanks to Ms Lowman for recognizing the error and to your newspaper staff for making the effort to correct the name in the photo caption. I am very proud of my son (Daniel) and his service… and to the state for recognizing the sacrifice of Daniel’s comrades through this noble ceremony. I have forwarded the link to your paper to a number of friends and family around the world, and it means so much that it now shows the correct name. Thank you again!

        Steven

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