By State of Hawaii, News ReleaseMarch 27, 2009
HONOLULU - The Hawaii State Senate and Hawaii House of Representatives will convene in a special joint session to recognize military service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
The families of these fallen service members will receive the Hawaii Medal of Honor on behalf of their loved ones.
The special joint session of the legislature is scheduled for Tuesday, 2 p.m., in the senate chambers.
In 2005, the legislature passed House Bill 8, which created the Hawaii Medal of Honor (HMOH). This special medal is awarded on behalf of the people of the State of Hawaii to an individual who was killed in action while serving our country as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
The presentation of the Hawaii Medal of Honor is the first of its kind in the nation. Other states have modeled Hawaii\'s Medal of Honor ceremony with similar ceremonies to honor their fallen service members.
"The Hawaii Medal of Honor is a symbol of our remembering those who stood tall for our values so that we may live in a land perpetuated by righteousness," said Rep. K. Mark Takai, introducer of the original legislation that created the medal.
Recipients of the medal include members of the U.S. armed forces, including the Reserves and the Hawaii National Guard, who were residents of the state of Hawaii, attended an educational institution in Hawaii, or were stationed in Hawaii by order of the U.S. Department of Defense.
"The effort to identify those eligible for the medal has taken many months," said Takai. "Working with all the branches of the military, we worked extremely hard to identify each service member who sacrificed their lives."
As of Jan. 31, 2008, Hawaii has lost 217 service members with Hawaii ties, who have sacrificed their lives while in the line of duty.
The primary next of kin and their families for each service member have been invited to attend.
A total of 8 families from Hawaii and the mainland are expected to participate in this ceremony.
"We are truly grateful for the sacrifices that these families have made," Takai said. "This medal is just a small token of our utmost appreciation. It tells these families that we also grieve for their loss."
The joint session will be broadcast live throughout the state via public access television and streamed on demand via the senate webcast page.