KAPAIA — Memorial Day is the time to remember our men and women who have died while serving in the Armed Forces, said Kaua‘i Veterans Council Commander Gen. (ret.) Mary Kay Hertog.
Over time, Memorial Day observance extended to include all veterans of the Armed Forces whether they were killed in action, or passed naturally. The observance further extended to include family members and close friends.
But what about those veterans who were buried before the designation of the Kaua‘i Veterans Cemetery?
“There are a lot,” said Kathleen Langtad, Cubmaster of Cup Pack 168 who started a tradition about 40 years ago. “I haven’t stopped to count, but there are a lot.”
While other Scouts of America, Aloha Council troops gather at the Kaua‘i Veterans Cemetery to spruce up the facility for the Annual Memorial Day service presented by the Kaua‘i Veterans Council, a small group of 16 Cub Pack and Troop 168 collected in the shade cast by the rising sun at the Immaculate Conception Church in Kapaia.
“We decorate all the graves — not just veterans, but everyone — with flowers the kids made throughout the year,” said Scoutmaster Mary Lardizabal who got help from her son Christian, an Eagle Scout, Cub Scouts, and their families. “Bless Aunty Kathy Langtad! She is still going!”
Armed with about 4,000 flowers, the group of grave tenders started with the cemetery adjacent to the Immaculate Conception Church, moved to the Kapaia Immaculate Conception Cemetery on Ma‘ala Road, Kaua‘i Memorial Gardens, and ending at the Lihu‘e Cemetery.
The flowers are created throughout the year when the Scouts find time at the pack’s meetings and create flowers.
“We start with the Scout who’s buried there,” Langtad said. “Then, we do all the other graves. If there’s any flowers left over, we bring them to the Kalapaki cemetery.”
The Kaua‘i Veterans Council present the annual Memorial Day service, Monday with special guest Congresswoman Jill Tokuda. The service starts at 10 a.m. at the Kaua‘i Veterans Cemetery and is open to everyone.
Source: The Garden Island