HONOLULU - Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson honored America’s fallen service members at the 70th Mayor’s Memorial Day Ceremony at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl, May 27.
“Thank you for the honor of speaking on Memorial Day, a day dedicated to those who have served our nation so that we can live, work, and worship freely,” said Richardson. “We honor these heroes who have fought and died in every major conflict during our country’s 243-year history.”
Richardson also spoke about the shared values of the heroes of years past and the men and women of today’s armed forces.
“A lot changed in the Navy between 1941 and 1945, and a great deal more between 1945 and today, but the values these Americans lived are timeless: integrity, accountability, initiative and toughness,” said Richardson. “Today, the men and women of the U.S. Navy continue to draw inspiration from them and from the generations who preceded us.”
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell also spoke about the significance of the day and what it means to him on a personal level.
“This is a special place – wahi pana,” said Caldwell. “And Memorial Day is a special day. For me it’s more about peace than war. It’s about the people that fought for peace, and not for war.”
More than 40 military organizations presented wreaths at the memorial to honor the nation’s fallen service members. Additionally, nearly 38,000 lei were made and placed on gravesites at the memorial.
Memorial Day, previously known as Decoration Day, became a national holiday in 1971, and is celebrated the last Monday in May. Memorial Day honors those that have lost their lives serving in the military.