Hawaii communities honor veterans
November 16, 2008
WAIANAE, Hawaii - The Waianae Military Civilian Advisory Council (WMCAC) honored veterans and service members during its annual Veterans Day Parade and Hoolaulea (Hawaiian party), here, Nov. 8.
Founded nearly 30 years ago, WMCAC was established with the goal of building a lasting relationship centered on poise and respect between the military and the Waianae community.
Honoring those who have served, spectators gathered along the streets to watch the parade, which ran between Pokai Bay and ended at the Waianae Mall, where the Hoolaulea was held.
"The parade spreads awareness about the Army and the services in our community," said Rocky Naeole, WMCAC president.
The color guard for the parade included Soldiers from the 25th Infantry Division and Sgt. Roly Tabon, cadet, Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC).
Capt. Kris Okimoto, grand marshall of the parade, represented his family and father, retired Col. Kenneth Okimoto. The Okimoto family owns and operates the Waianae Store and has donated food and beverages in support of WMCAC events for many years.
Retired Maj. Gen. Herbert Wolff, one of the original founders of WMCAC in 1979, was honored in the parade as he rode in a one-ton command truck.
A marching unit from the 25th Infantry Division along with military vehicles including a humvee, Stryker and a tactical fire fighting truck strolled down the parade route. The Hawaii Military Vehicle Preservation Association loaned a few of its restored military vehicles, including a two-ton truck, which the Special Forces Association used during the parade.
The Waianae High School band and 16 JROTC units from surrounding high schools also marched during the parade.
"There were 33 entries in the parade. Each year our support for the parade gets bigger and bigger," said Suzanne Leonida, WMCAC membership chairperson.
The Hoolaulea held after the parade featured military vehicles, static displays, a K-9 working dog, food booths, crafts, hula dancers and live music.
After the parade, the 16 high school JROTC units participated in a drill meet.
Local elected officials in attendance included Hawaii Senator Colleen Hanabusa, State Representative Karen Awana and State Representative Maile Shimabukuro.
In addition to the parade in Waianae, the Hilo community on the Big Island honored veterans with a parade along with more than 50 military organizations, veterans groups, Boy and Girl Scout units, JROTC units, military, county and high school bands and floats.
Two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters did a flyover along the route and were a parade highlight.