BY ROY PILIERE — About two weeks before Memorial Day, Jenn Yamada from the Holiday Inn® Waikiki Beachcomber Resort (OBC), mentioned that her husband’s friend was helping with the annual Memorial Day ceremony at Punchbowl National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. When she asked if the OBC ‘ohana would like to help by making lei, a wonderful tradition was born. General Manager Dean Nakasone alerted OBC’s Ke ‘Ano Wa‘a Alaka‘i who immediately embraced the opportunity to honor our veterans.
Meanwhile, the local media were reporting a flower shortage due to recent events in Southeast Asia, so OBC’s plan changed from purchasing flowers to collecting them from our yards and around our neighborhoods. After all, we are blessed to live on an island with an abundance of beautifully fragrant flowers!
A sweet scent filled the hallways of OBC during two lei-making sessions on the afternoons of May 24 and 25. Several members of the OBC and OWK ‘ohana worked intensely to turn our collected blossoms and Ti leaves into 217 lei to be placed on the gravestones at Punchbowl—small gifts to give big thanks to our veterans.
Mahalo to the OBC Ke ‘Ano Wa‘a Alaka‘i and to the ‘ohana of OBC and OWK who collected flowers, made lei, donated supplies or completed even the smallest task to help out this cause in any way. Also, a special thank you to our neighbors for allowing us to roam their yards looking for flowers. Although we live in such a global age, this story is testament to the substantial impact we can make by thinking locally.