WMCAC holds 29th Annual Veterans Day parade
November 15, 2010
WAIANAE, Hawaii - Residents of Leeward Oahu communities came together to recognize veterans and service members, past and present, during the Waianae Military Civilian Advisory Council's, or WMCAC, 29th Annual Veterans Day Parade and Hoolaulea, here, Nov. 6.
Each year WMCAC hosts the parade to salute local men and women in uniform and to strengthen the relationship between the military and the Waianae community.
Retired Lt. Col. Don Arakaki, parade coordinator and WMCAC member, feels a personal responsibility to support veterans and the JROTC cadets through the event.
"I am a veteran," he said, "I support what we did then and what Soldiers are doing now for our state and our country. As a vet, it is my duty to develop the character of our youth."
The parade drew crowds along the sidewalks of Farrington Highway from the Waianae Boat Harbor to the Waianae Mall, to watch 31 parade entries march by. The Waianae High School color guard led the procession, followed by the Nanakuli Intermediate and High School marching band and the Waianae High School cheerleaders.
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 849 rode along the route in a restored two-and-a-half ton truck provided by the Hawaii Military Vehicle Preservation Association, while Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, marched behind.
"From Nanakuli to Makaha, we have a lot of veterans from the Leeward communities," said Rocky Naeole, WMCAC president. "The parade spreads
awareness about the Army and the heroes that risk their lives to serve."
One such Soldier honored this year was Pfc. Herbert Pililaau, a Waianae hero and the first Hawaiian Medal of Honor recipient.
Seventy-nine Pililaau family members of all ages participated in the parade, riding in a replica of the T-AKR304, USNS Pililaau, a naval ship named after the Soldier.
The Waianae Army Recreation Center and the training range at Makua Military Reservation are also named in his memory.
"Being here, being honored, feels good," said Robert Pililaau, 72, the youngest surviving brother of Pililaau.
"It would be nice to (have him) here," he said, as he stood next to a large photo of his brother, with a citation describing his gallantry and courageous actions in Korea, Sept. 17, 1951.
The bulk of the procession consisted of 765 cadets from 15 JROTC units from surrounding high schools. The cadets polished their steps along the route, in preparation for the annual JROTC drill meet that followed immediately after the parade.
U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, served as the parade grand marshal and stressed that the main message of the day was to "never forget" those who serve or have served. Local elected officials, state Rep. Karen Awana and state Rep. Maile Shimabukuro also participated in the parade recognizing the "amazing effort" of the community.
The parade ended with a Hoolaulea, or Hawaiian party, which featured local crafts, food booths, vendors, live music and entertainment.
View more photos on <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/usag-hi/sets/72157625236374269/">Flickr</a>.