Day 89 – Honolulu, HI

September 3, 2010

This may be one of the most significant and memorable days of my journey. I am not sure I can adequately describe the days events and my emotions but I will give it my best attempt. Today thanks to the efforts and coordination of Rep Mark Takai and Lisa his assistant an emotional and moving ceremony was planned at the state capitol.  Many Gold Star families were in attendance as well as state officials including Governor Lingle, Adjutant General Lee, Honolulu Mayor, military officials, state senators, representatives and Hawaiian citizens.

The setting was the site of the Eternal Flame memorial just outside the capitol. It was a beautiful venue and I was told the first time a ceremony was ever held there.  There are many overwhelming thoughts running thru my head today. This is the 37th state I have been privileged  to share in, it is also the furthest point of the journey 5,000 miles from home and now 16,000 miles into my mission, nearly 90 days.  I originally estimated this trip would encompass 17,00 miles, I estimate now it will be closer to 25 and when concluded will have circled the globe. Perhaps it is one more symbolic sign of remembering all who have given so much in every corner of our world.

Tomorrow I begin to head east. Hawaii is important for many reasons, one of the most impactful is the historic fact that the war touched our shores in a tragedy as many lives were lost here at Pearl Harbor. I cannot begin to express the feelings of the people here as they are ever mindful of the importance of remembering. Currently in the War on Terror 360 lives lost are connected with ties to Hawaii.

The event was extremely humbling as each of those speaking understood the importance of the Honor and Remember message and included very supportive words of encouragement. I was deeply moved by this embracing and was especially touched by the proclamations by both the Governor of Hawaii and the Mayor of Honolulu. I wish I could better articulate in words, but I am not much of a flowery writer. At some point the video I shot will be shared with everyone as I know you would appreciate the sincere support of each speaking.

The most important part of the day was the presentation of personalized flags to three families. Williams, Cariaga and Hoe. There were several other Gold Star families there but as you know we are only able at this time to publicly recognize a few in each state. Mostly because resources are not available and we will continue to seek donations and sponsors until all are remembered. Today these three represented all the fallen from Hawaii and it was my sincere honor to bring tribute here.  The following news story will give you a taste of the day’s event.

KITV News Story

This evening I was privileged to attend  a prestigious dinner recognizing the ship and heroes of the US Missouri. The Missouri played a significant role in WWII and was the location of the Japanese signing of the surrender.  General Shinseki was the keynote speaker and the evening culminated an unbelievable day. Thank you Mark for all you have arranged.

Tomorrow: Honor and Remember Flag will fly over the US Missouri.

Blessings, George