It is truly an honor and a privilege to be here today. I flew in early this morning from Oahu. Being here today with all of you, seeing the beautiful Kauai breezes blowing through all of these flags as we honor those who have come before us, who have sacrificed their own lives selflessly is truly, truly a privilege and very humbling for me just to be here and to be here before all of you. You guys are my heroes. You set the standard for all of us to follow, and you do so humbly and selflessly. To stand among you is inspiring and motivating for me, so I just want to extend my personal mahalo to all of you.
Memorial Day is a difficult day, and I think it is a day for mixed emotions for many of us because as Colonel Beattie said, it brings a lot of memories that are difficult to feel. I was deployed to the Middle East twice with the Hawaii Air National Guard. Hearing the playing of Taps and the rifle sound reminded me of my friends, some of our brothers and sisters, who we lost there, people who we laughed with and ate with one day and who the next day were gone. The mixed feelings are we celebrate their lives and their selfless sacrifice.
To me on Memorial Day we think about what can we do to not just remember them on Memorial Day but to carry their memory and honor their memory going forward every day. Those memories that we have and that we share will never be lost and forgotten. For me, I think the best way to honor their sacrifice as we go forward is to think, how can we, in each of our own little way, serve our community, to live up to the selfless sacrifice, the example that they have set and try to make our community better, to continue their fight for freedom, whatever conflict it was, whether it was World War II or Korea or Vietnam or in today’s conflicts that we have.
There is so much work that can be done, and I truly believe that I know in my heart that no matter the challenge, if we embody that selfless service and sacrifice that we have seen from those who have come before us and upon whose shoulders we stand today, there is no challenge that is too great.
Thank you all so much for your service. Mahala nui loa. God bless all of those who could not be here with us today. God bless all of you. Thank you very much.
At this time please stand to retire the colors.