It’s time to sew a lei for Memorial Day festivities.
City officials are once again seeking donations of lei, as well as volunteers to help make lei in advance of the 70th Annual Mayor’s Memorial Day Ceremony at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl on Monday.
The ceremony starts at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, and will feature remarks by Admiral John M. Richardson, Chief of Naval Operations. The ceremony, which is free and open to the public, will offer several tributes, including a presentation of wreaths, firearm salute, aircraft flyover, playing of taps and performances by the Royal Hawaiian Band and Sounds of Aloha Chorus.
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Lei-making festivities will also be held 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday at Honolulu Hale, with live music and hula performances and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Kapolei Commons Theater Courtyard.
Lei donations (should be made of fresh floweres or ti, and measure 20 to 24 inches before tying) may be dropped off from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday at all Honolulu Fire Department stations, some city parks, federal fire department stations, and public schools. They may also be donated 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Punchbowl cemetery.
A list of all locations and times is available here.
At this year’s ceremony, the city said visitors will face the thousands of service members laid to rest in the memorial cemetery instead of Lady Columbia, unlike previous years’ ceremonies.
Meanwhile, the city welcomes the public’s help sewing lei for Memorial Day to meet its goal of placing an estimated 38,000 lei on gravesites within the cemetery.
“On Memorial Day, we pause to remember those who gave their lives in service to our country, and in a truly local way, we say ‘mahalo and aloha’ by placing a fresh flower lei and an American flag at each gravesite,” said Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation Deputy Director Jeanne Ishikawa. “We need everyone’s help to accomplish this task, and we’re encouraging everyone to get involved…Everyone, from keiki to kupuna, can be part of this inspiring and solemn tradition.”
The public can donate pre-made lei, including excess graduation lei, at various locations across the state on Friday or help make a lei at various workshops to be held on Friday morning. No previous lei-making experience is necessary.
On Friday, donations of lei can be dropped off from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at all Honolulu Fire Department stations, some city parks and designated public schools. Donations of fresh flowers or pre-made lei can be dropped off at any lei-making workshop on Friday morning.
They may also be donated 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Punchbowl cemetery.
In addition to the usual lei-making festivities Friday at Honolulu Hale, the city is hosting a “Sew A Lei” event Saturday at Kapolei Commons.
The Scouts of Hawaii will be placing lei on every gravesite inside Punchbowl cemetery on Sunday, starting at 1 p.m.
Since 1949, Honolulu has worked with numerous veteran, community, and educational groups to facilitate its time-honored ceremony at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.