HONOLULU - Rear Adm. Matthew Carter, deputy commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, honored America’s fallen service members at the 31st annual Memorial Day observance at the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium, May 26.
The event was hosted by the Friends of the Natatorium.
“I am always honored to speak on behalf of the Navy, but it is especially humbling to stand here in uniform at the Natatorium today as we honor the service of our fallen comrades in arms from each of our great services – the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard,” said Carter.
Carter also paid tribute to the families of our veterans who have also sacrificed so much for our nation. “Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, wives, husbands, daughters, sons, close friends and loved ones,” said Carter. “Theirs has never been an easy burden.”
“Since the American Revolution, more than a million American men and women have sacrificed their lives in defense of our nation,” said Carter. “And here today, we pay special tribute to more than 100 men from Hawaii who died in World War, as well as the many other Americans who gave their lives in service to this nation.”
U.S. Congressman Ed Case also spoke about the great effort and sacrifices made by local units.
“These troops, just like the brave guardsmen before them in World War I, answered the call to defend the values that all men and cherish, freedom democracy and the right to live in peace,” said Chase.
Chase also honored six men from Hawaii, that were killed by an attack by a German U-boat, five days before the U.S. entered World War I.
“As a member of Congress I am proud and honored to be given the opportunity to help those who are prepared to give the ultimate sacrifice to defend our country and who are willing to fight for others who are not able to defend themselves,” said Chase.
The War Memorial Natatorium is Hawaii’s official memorial and recognition to the 10,000 men and women who served in World War I and has been home to our Memorial Day celebration since 1979.
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. In 1987 and each subsequent year until his death, Senator Inouye introduced a resolution to return the holiday to its original date of May 30th.