Submitted by: LTC (R) Tim Schiller (Senior Army Instructor, Mililani High School), 1SG (R) Marlon Rice (Army Instructor, Mililani High School), and special recognition to Captain (R) Carleton Cramer, U.S. Navy Dean of Academics, Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies
Photos by: LTC (R) Tim Schiller
JROTC Cadets from across O’ahu participated in this very special memorial observance to honor the women and men who were laid to rest on the 112 lush-green acres of the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, giving their lives so we can live in freedom. This event involved a Joint JROTC presence, with USMC Cadets from Kapolei High School, USAF Cadets from Moanalua High School, and US Army Cadets from Kaimuki and Mililani High Schools, and other brother and sister cadets from the Kalaeloa Youth Challenge Academy (YCA).
The event was attended by the Governor of the State of Hawaii, Joshua Green, the Mayor of Honolulu, Rick Blangiardi as well as the Senior Leaders of the military, including the guest speaker for this event, the U.S. Indo-Pacific Commander Admiral John C. Aquilino.
The Royal Hawaiian Band played the prelude, followed by the presentation of the colors. JROTC Cadets were instrumental in presenting the 32 flower wreaths laid at the base of the monument.
On the top of the monument, is a statue of Lady Columbia, she is reported to represent the grieving mothers, as she stands on the bow of a ship holding a laurel branch, with the inscription taken from Abraham Lincoln’s letter to Mrs. Bixby, as it reads: “The solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.”
“Dear Madam, I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.
Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,
(1) Source: Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, edited by Roy P. Basler et al.
Cadets were tremendously honored to have participated in this historic event and will never forget those who paid for our freedom with their lives.