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Late U.S. Sen. Akaka to lie in state, be eulogized in services

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Daniel Akaka:

Funeral services for the former U.S. senator will be held this weekend

The late U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka will lie in state at the Capitol rotunda Friday and Saturday and be eulogized during two public services and one private service before being laid to rest at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl.

Akaka died April 6 at the age of 93 — five years after he retired from a political career in Washington that spanned 3-1/2 decades in both houses of Congress.

Hawaii’s congressional delegation, its current and former governors and many other Aloha State dignitaries are planning to pay their respects to the senator this weekend.

Akaka’s family on Wednesday released additional information about the events.

It starts when Akaka lies in state at the Hawaii State Capitol rotunda for 24 hours beginning 10 a.m. Friday.

The Royal Hawaiian Band is scheduled to begin playing at 9:45 a.m. before the senator’s casket arrives under escort by a Hawaii Army National Guard honor guard.

The senator’s wife, Mildred “Millie” Akaka, will be seated in the rotunda, while Akaka’s five children arrive to a greeting by Gov. David Ige, state House Majority Leader Della Au Belatti and state Senate President Ron Kouchi.

Akaka’s eldest son, Danny Akaka Jr., will lead the blowing of the conch shell and Hawaiian chant, and the Royal Hawaiian Band will play Akaka’s favorite song, “Hawaiian Lullaby.”

Public viewing will start at about 10:15 a.m. Akaka will be in a closed casket draped with an American Flag. A number of musicians will perform throughout the day and night.

A public memorial service will begin at 6 p.m. at the Capitol with entertainer Kimo Kahoano as emcee. Kahu James “Kimo” Merseberg of Kawaiaha‘o Church will lead a prayer.

Brief speeches will be given by Ige, former Govs. John Waihee, Ben Cayetano and Neil Abercrombie; Lt. Gov. Doug Chin; Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell; Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho; and Hawaii County Managing Director Wil Okabe.

Olelo Community Media will offer live coverage.

Public viewing will resume after the ceremony through Saturday morning, with various musicians scheduled to perform throughout the night.

On Saturday a public Celebration of Life will take place at Kawaiaha‘o Church. Visitation will be at noon, with the serv­ice led by Merseberg at 2 p.m.

The eulogy will be delivered by former Gov. George Ariyoshi. Danny Akaka Jr. will offer reflections of the senator’s five children, while grandson David Mattson will speak on behalf of the 15 grandchildren. After the ceremony, Holunape will perform.

Hawaii News Now will provide live coverage of the 2 p.m. ceremony on KGMB.

On Monday, a private burial for the family will take place at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

Throughout the weekend the Honolulu Police Department will provide an escort for the casket and its motorized procession when it is on the move. Road closures will be rolling as the motorcade passes.

Free public parking will be available after 4:30 p.m. Friday and all day Saturday in the city’s municipal lot (Beretania Street entrance), in the state’s Kalanimoku Building lot and the state’s Department of Health lot. No public parking will be available at the state Capitol.

Akaka’s political career started in 1976 in the U.S. House of Representatives and ended in the U.S. Senate in 2013.

It’s uncertain whether former President Barack Obama or any other prominent former colleagues will attend the serv­ices. Former spokesman Jesse Broder Van Dyke said he doesn’t expect Obama to be there.

Obama attended the 2012 memorial service for former U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye in Honolulu even though he already had eulogized Inouye during a service at Washington’s National Cathedral.

But the timing was ideal. The service was Dec. 23, and the president and first lady Michelle Obama arrived in Honolulu a little early for their family’s annual Christmas vacation.

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