By Charles Ota, Military Affairs, The Chamber of Commerce of HawaiiApril 30, 2010
HONOLULU Aca,!" While Hawaii remains the U.S. military headquarters for national security in the Pacific, the military's role has been expanded to include humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and enabling global commerce and trade for Pacific nations.
This year's military appreciation month celebration will be highlighted by a parade through Waikiki to honor Hawaii's military warriors, past and present.
This parade provides Hawaii's appreciative ohana with the chance to say mahalo to our heroes of past wars, and to those serving on the front lines of today's wars in the Middle East and on patrol everyday in the Pacific.
It is also a time to give thanks to Hawaii's military spouses who face the awesome task of keeping their families together as their husbands and wives are sent into harm's way.
This is a time to share the spirit of aloha by welcoming our troops and their families into our homes and communities, and for them to enjoy being in Hawaii as part of our ohana. This isn't asking too much for all that they have sacrificed for us.
This year marks the 25th anniversary for Hawaii's military appreciation celebration. The Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii started this tradition in 1985, with its Military Affairs Council and the Armed Services Committee, as a one-day event on Armed Forces Day.
The celebration was later extended to a weeklong event, and Hawaii became the first state to honor the military throughout the month of May.
On the evening of Armed Forces Day, U.S. military bands from the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard will pool their talented musicians for what promises to be a wonderful evening of music.
The annual Combined Military Band Concert is May 15, at the historic Hawaii Theater in downtown Honolulu from 7-8:30 p.m. The Air Force Band of the Pacific is the host for this year's concert.
Free tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis at the Hawaii Theater box office and the Chamber.
Our business leaders will host the annual Military Recognition Luncheon at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel's Coral Ballroom, from 12-1:30 p.m., May 18.
The luncheon will feature recognition awards for Hawaii's outstanding enlisted military leaders from the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, Hawaii National Guard and the U.S. Pacific Command. Each awardee will receive a free trip for two to the Big Island, and a two-night stay at Kilauea Military Camp.
Luncheon tickets may be purchased online at www.cochawaii.org.
The grand finale will be a Military Appreciation Day in Waikiki, May 22, sponsored by USO Hawaii and the City and County of Honolulu.
The day will begin with a parade of Hawaii's military troops, past and present, down Kalakaua Avenue from Fort DeRussy to Kapiolani Park, starting at 9:30 a.m., which includes our veterans from World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars joining with today's warfighters and wounded warriors.
The parade will be followed by daylong entertainment at the band stand in Kapiolani Park, and free admission for military families to the Honolulu Zoo.
The Chamber thanks sponsors for their generous support of the military and their families.
Hawaii's visitor attractions, hotels, restaurants, shopping malls, retailers, auto dealers and other businesses also will be treating the military to a variety of specials throughout May.
The Chamber extends a big mahalo to its military ohana for all that you do to make Hawaii a safer and better place.
Hawaii Military Appreciation Month Event Schedule
5 / Wednesday
Community Aloha Ceremony - Wahiawa/Whitmore Village Neighbor-hood Board #26 is spearheading a community recognition event, 7 p.m., May 5, at the Hale Okipa Building, Wahiawa Recreation Center, 1139 Kilani Ave.
15 / Saturday
Enchanted Breakfast - Information, Tickets and Registration is putting on an Enchanted Character Breakfast, May 15, at 8 a.m. Tickets are available at ITR, and cost $10 for adults, $8 for children. Call 655-9971.
Family Fun Festival - Come to Sills Field on Schofield Barracks, May 15, from 9-2 p.m., for a variety of games, inflatable, rides, food booths and entertainment. Call 655-0113 for more details.
Spouse Appreciation Day - Each military spouse will receive a goody bag and a raffle ticket for spa giveaway packages and other great prizes, May 15, 9 a.m.- 2 p.m., at Sills Field on Schofield Barracks. For more information, call 655-0112.
Combined Military Band Concert - Come to the combined services concert, May 15, at the Hawaii Theatre, Honolulu, from 7-8:30 p.m. Free tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
18 / Tuesday
Military Recognition Luncheon - Celebrate the return of our warriors from Iraq and Afghanistan at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa, May 18, 12-1:30 p.m. Reservations are required by May 7 for this event. Admission prices range, based on individual reservations or table bookings (group of eight). Call 545-4300, ext. 317, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
22 / Saturday
Welcome Home Heroes - This parade takes place along Kalakaua Avenue with a celebration at the Waikiki Shell, May 22, 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
Family Day at the Zoo - Join the USO for Military Appreciation Day, May 22, at the Honolulu Zoo, 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Admission is free for all military personnel with valid ID. Buses will depart from the Schofield Barracks Bowling Center parking lot at 7:30-7:45 a.m. Wristbands and meal tickets will be issued by Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation as everyone loads onto the bus. Buses will depart from the Honolulu Zoo at 2 p.m.
29 / Saturday
Hawaii Military Bands Mele - Listen to great music, May 29, at Fort DeRussy's Kuroda Field, 7-10 p.m.