Fallen military members to be honored at Memorial Day events on Big Island

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Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of summer, and also a time to recognize and honor the Americans who sacrificed their lives during military service throughout U.S. history.

On the Big Island, there will be two Memorial Day events on May 29:

  • West Hawaiʻi Veterans Cemetery, 11 a.m.: The Kona American Legion Post 20 will host a Memorial Day ceremony that includes the West Hawai’i Band, presentations and speeches by numerous veterans groups. More details are not available at this time.
  • East Hawaiʻi Veterans Cemetery, 9 a.m.: The 3rd Annual Memorial Day Honoring Our Veterans’ Spouse ceremony will take place at the cemetery. It is part of the Celebration of Life: Freedom Isn’t Free series.

The East Hawaiʻi ceremony will include the Fire Mission-Military Honors, Lona Soldier Honor Guard, speakers, a choir, a band and a 23-gun salute. Com. Russell Rodrigues will lead a posting of the colors with Hawaiʻi National Guard Youth Challenge Academy shouldering the American, Hawaiʻi State and POW-MIA flags.


There will also be chanting by Rev. Jigaku Takenouchi accompanied by Rev. Takahashi, Kamuro, Miyazaki and Rev. Tomioka who are ministers of the Big Island Buddhist Federation. Representatives of various temples also will be offering incense during the chant.

The keynote speaker will be Debbie Lewis, U.S. Col. (Ret.), a state commander for the VFW and chair of the Hawaiʻi Island Veterans Day Parade. Lewis is a West Point graduate, survived the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon, and was deployed to Iraq in 2006-2007 to command Central District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

She is an author and coaches others on better ways to handle life’s challenges, transitioning from self-sabotage to self-mastery. Her father Bennett Lewis is a WW II, Korea and Vietnam veteran who attended the U.S. Military Academy West Point and retired as a 3-star general. He spoke at a past Korean War ceremony, and died earlier in May. He was buried at West Point, NY.


Memorial Day is a federal holiday and all federal buildings, banks and post offices will be closed.

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