HILO, Hawaii: Today is Memorial Day, and Hawaii Island joins the nation in honoring our country’s fallen soldiers.
The federal holiday is observed annually in the United States on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, the holiday originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the fallen Union soldiers. By the 20th century Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died in all wars.
Here in Hawaii, events are being held at the traditional locations, like here at the East Hawaii veterans Cemetery, where this year, Governor Neil Abercrombie is scheduled to speak. The haed of the Aloha State will also mark the occasion with the laying of a wreath.
The Governor’s office released this statement on Friday:
In observance of Memorial Day, Governor Neil Abercrombie has ordered that all national and Hawai’i flags at state offices and agencies as well as the Hawai’i National Guard are to be flown at half-staff from sunrise to noon on Monday, May 28, 2012.
President Barack Obama today issued a proclamation declaring May 28, 2012, as “a day of prayer for permanent peace.” The President stated, “I designate the hour beginning in each locality at 11:00 a.m. of that day as a time to unite in prayer. I also ask all Americans to observe the National Moment of Remembrance beginning at 3:00 p.m.”
Events are held in Puna, West Hawaii, and elsewhere… the day is also the unofficial start of the summer season, as state schools have taken a break until late July.
Also, Hawaii County Police are saying that with the approach of the long Memorial Day weekend and the continuation of graduation parties, they will be on alert to help prevent tragedy on island roads. Officers will conduct DUI checkpoints and roving patrols beginning Thursday, May 24, and continuing through Memorial Day, Monday, May 28. The effort is part of a national and statewide campaign called “Drunk Driving: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over”
Police warn driving under the influence of alcohol presents a potential danger to every motorist, passenger and pedestrian the driver encounters. Already this year, Big Island police have made well over 500 DUI arrests, and 14 people have died in traffic fatalities.
Police remind the public that the County of Hawaiʻi Mass Transit Agency maintains a Shared-Ride Taxi program year round. Every individual is entitled to buy subsidized taxi coupons for as low as $2 each and use them with participating taxi companies. For details, call 961-8744 or visit this website: heleonbus.org/shared-ride-taxi-program