By Jesse Church
Aloha my beloved veterans and fellow residents of Molokai, old Jesse here with all the veterans news and upcoming events. On Memorial Day, small flags mark the graves of service members at cemeteries across the country to honor the fallen. How did this tradition begin? During the Civil War, a widow in Knoxville, Tennessee named Laura D Richardson led a group of four women who formed a committee to obtain flowers to decorate 3,000 graves in the city’s national cemetery. However, the flowers that the group wanted to purchase were unavailable or out of season. One day, Richardson saw a small toy flag in a store window and got an idea. She bought the flags and persuaded a local lumber mill to make small wooden sticks as tiny flagpoles according to the Air Force Honor Guard’s training manual. On May 30, 1874, the U.S. saw the small flags at a national cemetery for the first time and it is now a tradition that has remained for 140 years.
How many people got the correct answer for the question in the last column? The question was: Where in the Pacific were the Sandwich Islands? And the answer is Hawaii. This is an old name for the Hawaiian Islands. In 1778 British sea captain James Cook discovered them and named them for his good friend John Montague, the Earl of Sandwich. Now see if you can correctly answer this question: What are the two most active volcanoes in Hawaii?
No war veteran needs to be reminded that Memorial Day on May 26 is the day we pay homage to the brave men and women that we fought alongside of and who didn’t make it back home. On Memorial Day, we honor those courageous men and women who sacrificed their lives that we may live as free Americans. It is also the duty of America’s veterans to teach the children of the nation the importance of Memorial Day. But the job of teaching our children cannot be done by our veterans alone. We need the parents of America’s children to help. They need to teach their children how to memorialize our heroes and that their sacrifice is meaningless without remembrance. Please remember the five things that we must teach are: why remember, who we are remembering, what we are remembering, how do we remember and when do we remember. The reason this is so important is because some day, our country may ask your son or daughter to help defend our nation and they must know why.
We send a big mahalo to all our military personnel stationed around the world, and especially those men and women that are in harm’s way. I also wanted to thank our veterans for all they have done for us and the people of Molokai for all the support you have always given them. I want you to all know that I love you dearly. If you have anything for the column please give old Jesse a call at 553-3323. So until next time, old Jesse sends you all a big mahalo. Aloha.