Peace Day Parade returns to Honoka‘a
The Peace Day Parade returns to Honoka‘a this weekend, and this year’s event has taken a personal turn for the Big Island community, especially one of the parade’s organizers.
“My sister is currently in the Gaza Strip, where she volunteers her prosthetics expertise to teach and provide services for wounded children,” said Honoka‘a Hongwanji Buddhist Temple Peace Committee Chairman Miles Okumura. “She got trapped in there when the current violence began, and is presently near the border with Egypt, waiting for a chance to leave. We are all praying for a ceasefire to happen, and for a humanitarian corridor to open, allowing people out and emergency supplies in.”
The parade reinforces the need for peace around the world as conflicts such as that in Israel continue.
This year’s march steps off at noon on Saturday from Honoka‘a High School and will wind down Māmane Street in a colorful celebration of peace and compassion, featuring music and performers of all kinds including taiko drums, bon dancers, colorful floats and creative entries from local schools and community groups.
The United Nation’s official International Day of Peace is Sept. 21 each year. This year’s parade in Honoka‘a was originally scheduled for Sept. 23, but it was postponed.
“Ours is a small community, and we try to be respectful of each other, especially when it comes to promoting peaceful values,” Okumura said. “When we learned that two families in town had planned memorial services for their loved ones at the same time, we rescheduled the parade so as not to interfere.”
The Peace Committee, which started the parade in 2007, has put the values of global peace into local action by providing hundreds of hot meals and grocery bags to the community each week, adopting and supporting families suffering from the war in Ukraine and providing various kinds of support to others in need.
The parade was inspired by a group from the Hawai‘i Federation of Junior Young Buddhists Associations that successfully lobbied then-Hawai‘i Gov. Linda Lingle to proclaim a Peace Day in the islands, similar to that created in 1982 by the UN. It is the only such official state Peace Day in the nation.