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APEC dignitaries to attend two Veterans Day ceremonies at Punchbowl

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 10:24 a.m. HST, Nov 8, 2011

 Dignitaries representing three Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation nations will attend two separate National Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl Veterans Day observances.

For security reasons Gene Castagnetti, Punchbowl director, said he cannot identify the APEC dignitaries but he noted that three APEC officials will attend each ceremony.

Castagnetti said visitors planning to attend the 10 a.m. Punchbowl ceremony on Friday are asked to be in their seats by 9:30 a.m. Adm. Robert Willard, who leads the Pacific Command, will be the guest speaker. Also in attendance will be Sen. Daniel Inouye and Mayor Peter Carlisle.

On Saturday, the Punchbowl cemetery will be closed from 8 a.m. to noon for a special ceremony where a delegation from three other APEC members will join in honoring America's war dead, Castagnetti said. 

In another Veterans Day ceremony on Friday, Gov. Neil Abercrombie and retired Vice Adm. Richard Kihune will be the guest speakers at the state observance of Veterans Day at the Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery in Kaneohe.

The state program will begin at 12:45 p.m. with a musical prelude by the 111th Army Band from the Hawaii Army National Guard, followed by a chant by Kahu Manu Mook. A parade of flags and presentation of lei from various veterans' organizations will follow. The ceremony will also feature the Hawaiian Lua group Pa Ka 'Ai Kanaha Elua performing "Ha'a Maha U," a form of Hawaiian martial arts. A musical interlude will be performed on ukulele by a member of the 111th Army Band. Tomoko Hotema will sing the "National Anthem" and "Hawaii Ponoi."

The Wahiawa Veterans' Day Parade, which is normally scheduled for Veterans Day has been cancelled because there are no special duty police officers available to direct traffic that day. Police will all be working at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation conference.

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