HILO, BIG ISLAND OF HAWAII – Hawaii men and women who served their country in foreign conflicts from World War II to Iraq and Afghanistan, will again be honored in a special Veteran’s Day parade in Hilo on Saturday, Nov. 7.
This is the third year the parade, which starts and ends at Wailoa State Park, is being held. The initial event in 2007 was the first such parade to take place on Hawaii Island. The parade is among only two held Statewide in honor of Veteran’s Day.
The parade begins at 10 a.m. and will follow a 1.5-mile route through downtown Hilo. The 2009 parade theme is “All gave some and some gave all.” Grand Marshall of the parade is General Gary Hara, who is a native of Hawaii Island.
Parade participants include full military color guards, the 32-member United States Navy Pacific Fleet Band from Pearl Harbor, Oahu, and the 100th Battalion, 422nd Army Reserve and the 299th Cavalry Army National Guard, both from Hawaii. The parade will also feature a fly-over of C60 “Blackhawk” helicopters from the squadron based in Hilo and under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Ben Fuata.
More than 30 groups are expected to take part in the parade, including contingents from Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion Posts, the 442nd Veterans Association, 200 motorcycles from the Vietnam Veterans organization and many others. Some contingents will walk the parade route while others will be riding or on floats.
This year’s parade honors the last group of surviving World War II veterans, representing the U.S. Army 100th Infantry Battalion/442nd Regiment, who were known as the M.I.S or Military Intelligence Service. The 100th, which was made up of Japanese-American soldiers from Hawaii, fought in key battles against the Germans in Italy and France in the last two years of World War II. The 100th sustained heavy casualties and also became the most decorated combat unit in U.S. military history.
Parade sponsors include the East Hawaii Veterans League, First Hawaiian Bank – Hilo branch, Union Alliances and the ILWU Local 142, Hawaii Division and the Big Island Visitors Bureau, George Applegate, Executive Director. The parade founder and coordinator is Dan Kama, president of the East Hawaii Veterans League.
Veterans or other groups from anywhere in Hawaii who would like to take part in the parade may sign up to do so no later than Oct. 24. Individuals who served in the military but who are not part of any vets group are also welcome to participate.
For more information, call Dan Kama at (808) 968-7425.
Contact: Dan Kama 968-7425
|Sat Nov 7, 2009 10am – 12pm Hawaii Time|
|Downtown Hilo (map)|