HONOLULU (KHON2) — A beautiful sight. That’s what volunteers called thousands of wreaths laid out along graves at the at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl.

It’s National Wreaths Across America Day. Hawaii is one of all 50 states taking part.

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The celebration began n 1992 at Arlington National Cemetery, and has grown since.

“Everyone is participating including a lot of the state cemeteries for veterans so it is pretty well nationwide,” said Jim Horton, director of the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl. “It is a great movement to allow people to get our and say thank you to the veterans.”

The celebration happened in all four of Hawaii’s major counties including West Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery on the Big Island, Maui Veterans Cemetery in Makawao, as well as the Kauai Veterans Cemetery in Hanapepe.

On Oahu the over 700 volunteers Saturday are a big increase from the usual turnout of a couple hundred.

“This is tremendously larger than I’m used to but it’s a very good experience,” said Enrique Pacheco, location coordinator Wreaths Across America.

Many of the volunteers are service members themselves.

“As a child of a Vietnam service member and an active duty member it’s an honor to be able to give credit to those who came before us and just honor what they’ve done for us to keep us safe,” said volunteer Ronald Cole.

Organizers asked volunteers that they say the deceased name out loud when placing the wreath.
The reason for that is as long as their name is being said they never truly die.

“Luke Linus Martin. He was in the US Navy,” said an Air Force family as they read the veteran’s name out lout when placing the wreath.

This Air force family hoped to show their young daughters the realities of serving the nation.

“It’s hard to explain to kids that are younger all these represent someone who has passed away who has died and why they died,” said the Air Force family. “I think they did a great job at the ceremony explaining that it’s for freedom, so I think they’ll continue to understand each year why we do things like this.”

“It is an opportunity for all the younger generations to see and appreciate what has gone before them, and the history that is contained out here in the cemetery,” Horton.

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