By Bill Mossman, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public AffairsMay 22, 2009
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - The 10th Annual Lantern Floating Hawaii Ceremony will take place May 25 and invites people of all cultures and religious backgrounds to come together to cast afloat more than 2,000 candlelit lanterns as a way of peacefully remembering loved ones who have passed.
"It is the day on which many of us remember those who gave their lives for peace," said Chieko Steele, program officer for event sponsor Na Lei Aloha Foundation.
One Schofield Barracks resident who plans on attending the ceremony is Julie Brown, who's still feeling the loss of a close friend of the family.
Brown, and her 8-year-old daughter, Megan, attended a workshop at Sgt. Yano Library, Saturday, to help make remembrance cards for community participants.
The workshop provided Soldiers and family members with a chance to add personal prayers and dedications to a community lantern that will be included in the ceremony.
"My mom's fiancAfA passed away from cancer a couple of months ago, and I thought this would be a good way for us to remember him," Brown said. "But I'm also intrigued by Hawaii and all of its different cultures, and I thought this would be a nice way to get my kids involved."
For those still wishing to make dedications, individual lanterns will be available to the public at the park, beginning promptly at 1 p.m. Lanterns are free, although donations are welcome.
"We're told that people will start lining up at the request tent around noon to get their own individual lanterns," said Conor Joyce, recreation specialist and programs manager, Outdoor Recreation.
To make logistics easier, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (FMWR) is offering free round-trip bus service leaving Sgt. Smith Theater, Schofield Barracks, at 10 a.m., and Richardson Theatre, Fort Shafter, 11 a.m. The busses will arrive early enough for those wishing to request lanterns.
"This is the first time FMWR is providing the bus service," explained Joyce.
Along with the free ride, FMWR plans on setting up several canopies at the park. "Folks can relax under our canopies or on the beach, and talk story until the ceremony begins."
At the conclusion of the ceremony, the busses will depart Magic Island at approximately 8:30 p.m. To reserve your seat, contact Outdoor Recreation at 808-655-0143.
Event officials are expecting more than 40,000 people to attend this year. Parking in and around the beach park will be scarce.
Free event parking will be offered at the Hawaii Convention Center, and a complimentary shuttle will transport visitors between the center and the beach park starting at 4 p.m.