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Thousands float lanterns remembering the dearly departed

  • BRUCE ASATO / BASATO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    More than 50,000 people, both Hawaii residents and visitors to the island, were expected to attend tonight’s annual Lantern Floating Hawaii ceremony, with “Many Rivers, One Ocean — Hope,” as its theme. The event, officiated by Shinnyo-en and presented by Na Lei Aloha Foundation, had more than 6,000 lanterns floating in the waters of Ala Moana Beach to honor the fallen.

In small, personal ways that go largely unnoticed, 49-year-old Naomi Carter has mourned her mother’s passing every day for more than 17 years.

Today, for the first time, Carter joined thousands of other people at Ala Moana Beach Park in a most conspicuous spectacle of love and remembrance.

Organizers of the 18th annual Lantern Floating Hawaii predicated an overall crowd in the tens of thousands. And despite some threatening weather earlier in the day, the event again attracted a massive audience spread out from Magic Island to the Kewalo end of the park.

Some 6,000 floating lanterns were made available to the public to personalize and set afloat in remembrance of loved ones. By 4:30 p.m., two hours before the start of the program, all the lanterns were gone.

In anticipation of a large turnout and attendant traffic congestion, free parking and shuttle service from the Hawai‘i Convention Center were made available starting at 7 a.m.

Carter arrived from Manoa by bus about 1 p.m. and watched from beneath the shade of a low-set tent as the park slowly filled.

“I’ve been here before but I’ve never floated a lantern,” Carter said, clutching a square lantern the sides of which she had decorated with heartfelt messages to her mother, Daisy Young, and other loved ones who have died.

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  • Kudos to all the volunteers and the thousands and thousands participants who gathered as one – remembering their loved ones with a unique show of love! The many lanterns floating out to sea emits love and peace which are felt among the people. Even those watching on television. Memorial Day, remembering those who helped defend our country and family members who are gone but are remembered with love and beautiful memories! To each and every souls of the faithful departed may they rest in peace! Amen!

  • Thank you for doing this especially for pur lved ones for who, Hawaii was their Aina, their home! And now we, their family are not allowed to return to the islands to honor them because of bullyingbmistresses who came to take their good!

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