/ The Hawaii Traveler
Hawaii — By byun on May 31, 2010 at 6:00 pm
Filed under: cemetery, Memorial Day

The Punchbowl Cemetery

Earlier this morning, Senator Daniel K. Inouye and Mayor Mufi Hannemann spoke at the Mayor’s Memorial Day Ceremony at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl [map].  This Memorial Day tradition is the perfect way to begin a day of remembering the soldiers who fought and continue to fight for our freedom. 

The Punchbowl Cemetery, as the locals call it, is one of those special places on the island of Oahu that, whether it’s Memorial Day or not, should be visited for not only honoring the dead, but remembering why this is the land of the free and reminding ourselves what a beautiful place it is that we live in.

In ancient times, the Punchbowl crater, a fittingly named long-dormant volcano, served as a site of human sacrifices.  Today, the Punchbowl Cemetery is the final resting place for 34,000 veterans of World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, as well as Challenger casualty Ellison Onizuka. Marble walls flank the monumental staircase with a long list of names of American heroes who are missing in action. A 30-foot statue of Lady Columbia symbolizes all grieving mothers.  Several acres of greenery mark the resting place of fallen soldiers from Hawaii.  Service members, retired service members, and families of the deceased visit the memorial and pay their respects to the fallen soliders laid to rest here.  

During this Memorial Day holiday, other cemeteries across the islands are also visited to honor the soldiers who gave their lives to sustain America’s freedom, and the Punchbowl Cemetery is one of the best places to remember loved ones who have passed on. 

From atop this crater there is a sweeping view of Diamond Head to the glistening bays of Pearl Harbor. 

The Punchbowl Cemetery is open every day from 8 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.  Today (Memorial Day), it is open from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.  Admission is free.  You are welcome and encouraged to leave flowers and/or a lei.

Photo courtesy of cliff1066 (Flickr)

Tags: cemetery, Memorial Day

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