Memorial Day observed at Schofield Barracks Post Cemetery
June 4, 2013
By Jack Wiers
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii (May 31, 2013) -- Reminders of America's history of sacrifice were voiced at Memorial Day ceremonies, here, and throughout the nation, May 27.
Across the country, remembrance ceremonies, in various locations and in a variety of ways, reminded all in attendance of the sacrifices of honored past, as well as current heroes.
Tributes were voiced in both formal ceremonies and with private moments.
At the cemetery, here, visitors began arriving in the day's early hours to offer respect to individual fallen friends and family members -- for veterans, retirees and family members' remains are buried at the century-old site.
The gravesites bore lei and miniature American flags. A steady stream continued throughout the morning to individual gravesites.
Later in the morning, at the formal Memorial Day ceremony, Col. Daniel Whitney, commander, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, in formal remarks, stressed the need to salute and honor all members of the armed forces throughout history.
"… Our memorials, our cemeteries, our monuments and our museums serve as proof to our children and future generations that men and women of great character, from all walks of life, left their homes and were willing to give their lives to secure the rights and freedoms of others," Whitney said.
He asked if speaking words and placing flowers on graves would be enough of a tribute.
"They did not die for words or wreaths alone; rather, they died so that in freedom our nation might endure," Whitney said.
Whitney then quoted the reminder from President Abraham Lincoln: "… Any nation that does not honor its heroes will not long endure."
The remembrance ceremony continued with Army veterans from the Military Order of the Purple Heart, the Disabled Veterans of America and the Veterans of Foreign Wars laying wreaths and lei at the foot of the National Ensign.
The National Salute was offered by Command Sgt. Maj. Philip Brunwald, USAG-HI senior enlisted leader.
A rifle detail of seven delivered a three-volley salute, followed by the raising of the flag from half-mast 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 Disabled American Veteran's Sammy Houseman, who along with more than 100 others viewed the ceremony. "There are fewer of us here every year," he added.