LIHU‘E — The fence line at the Kaua‘i Veterans Center on Veterans Memorial Highway was alive with color from the American flags dancing in the trade winds Sunday, beckoning motorists’ attention to the message created with white plastic cups stuck in the chain link fencing — “Honor and Remember.”
“We can’t do it Sunday because we’re helping with the fundraising Memorial Day golf with the Kaua‘i Veterans Council,” said Mary Lardizabal, Scoutmaster for Scouts of America Troop 168 and Cub Pack 168, sponsored by Immaculate Conception Church.
“We cleaned up the Kaua‘i Veterans Center a few weeks ago, and the troop made 4,000 flowers that we’ll be placing at graves at the Immaculate Conception Church, the Kaua‘i Memorial Gardens, the Lihu‘e Cemetery, and if we have extra, the Kalapaki cemetery near Kaua‘i High School.”
The flowers were created by the troop’s scouts, parents and friends in the safety of their homes, or during gatherings following COVID-19 health and safety regulations.
“Not all veterans are at the Kaua‘i Veterans Cemetery,” said longtime Cubmaster Kathleen Langtad. “There are many veterans resting at these cemeteries in the Kapaia and Lihu‘e area. The Scouts of America remember the veterans at the Kaua‘i Veterans Cemetery. We want to ensure that we remember these veterans, too.”
Senior Corps Kaua‘i Retired and Senior Volunteer Program director Donna Lynn Loo said she lost count after 1,200 lei.
“People were making lei at home, we picked up some on the way here, and the Girls Scouts are supposed to visit the Kaua‘i Veterans Cemetery later Sunday with even more lei,” Loo said Sunday when the Kaua‘i RSVP volunteers joined up with the Hawai‘i Government Employees Association to place lei on the graves at the Hanapepe cemetery. “I think we have more than 1,500 lei. That’s nearly half of the 4,000 graves.”
One volunteer with the HGEA said the Scouts of America are scheduled to arrive at 8 a.m. today to place American flags on the graves.
Following the scouts, the Kaua‘i Military Funeral Honors Team with the Hawai‘i National Guard is scheduled to conduct a rifle volley salute to show its gratitude and respect at 8:30 a.m. at the cemetery that is heavily roped off due to work on the expansion.
In September, 2020, the state Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Association announced the awarding of $5,063,660 to the state for expansion of Kaua‘i Veterans Cemetery.
The grant will fund the construction of 215 pre-placed crypts, 407 in-ground cremains gravesites, 640 columbarium niches, a memorial wall, roadways, irrigation, landscaping and supporting infrastructures on approximately 2.5 acres. The expansion will enable the cemetery to provide continued service for approximately 4,534 veterans and their eligible family members, stated a VA announcement.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: The Garden Island