POSTED: 4:24 p.m. HST, Dec 23, 2012
LAST UPDATED: 8:56 p.m. HST, Dec 23, 2012
On their second full day of vacation on Oahu, President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama paid their respects to fallen U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye then spent the afternoon hiking with their daughters in Maunawili.
The president’s motorcade left his Kailua vacation compound at 9:31 a.m. heading for the memorial. Media traveling with the motorcade reported that the president was briefly visible in a black SUV as he departed.
A few onlookers gathered along the Pali Highway while the motorcade was in transit, hoping for a glimpse of the commander in chief.
The motorcade arrived at Punchbowl at 9:58 a.m., and the service for Inouye began shortly after 10 a.m.
The president and Michelle Obama were seated in the front row with Lt. Gen. Francis Wiercinski, commander of U.S. Army Pacific, Inouye’s widow, Irene Inouye, his son, Ken Inouye, daughter-in-law Jessica Inouye, step-daughter Jennifer Hirano, and Adm. Samuel Locklear, commander of U.S. Pacific forces, and his wife.
Obama elected not to speak at the ceremony, which ended at 11:20 a.m. Afterward, he and the first lady took a brief stroll in the cemetery to visit the grave of his grandfather, Stanley Dunham. Media reported the couple could be seen from afar, walking together toward the site.
The president’s motorcade left the memorial at 11:29 a.m. and returned to the Obamas' vacation home in Kailua at 11:57 a.m.
It was seen leaving again at 1:31 p.m. About 20 minutes later, the Obamas and daughters Sasha and Malia arrived at the Maunawili Demonstration Trail, a beginner-level trail that in its entirety stretches 9.3 miles from Maunawili to Waimanalo.
The family returned to the vacation home shortly after 4 p.m.
The first family went hiking during their vacation in Hawaii last year. On Dec. 26,2011, the family hiked to the top of the Lanikai Pillboxes near their Kailua vacation home.
On Saturday, the president played golf during the day and dined with family and friends at Morimoto's restaurant in Waikiki at night.
Brandon Leong said he was treating his wife to a birthday celebration at the restaurant when, around 8 p.m., people in plain clothes began walking around the space, inspecting everything from the tables to the roof and the bushes. About 10 minutes later, Long said, restaurant patrons were scanned with a metal detector and told security was being heightened for a VIP guest.
“Our waiter also hinted that we might see something spectacular tonight to add to my wife’s birthday celebration,” he wrote in an email.
Then around 8:30 p.m., Leong said, about four people walked in and sat down directly behind him and his wife. Ten minutes after that, he said, Michelle Obama walked in with two other people and the president bringing up the rear.
“He (the president) walked by our table ... (and) said ‘Merry Christmas,’” Leong said, adding that the dinner party ordered a long list of items and drank Stoli martinis. “It was a birthday celebration for my wife that she and I will never forget.”