Veterans Day celebrations began at the U.S.VETS Waianae Civic Center Program (WCC) on November 2nd with veteran and non-veteran households and staff participation in the annual “Waianae Veterans Day Parade.” WCC participants passed out candy and U.S.VETS logo pens to eager recipients along the parade route that began at the local Waianae Boat Harbor and made its way to the local “Waianae Mall” about a mile and a half down “main street” Farrington Highway.
After the parade, WCC participants made their way back to site where preparations were under way for a luncheon in honor of our veteran residents and all facility residents. On site events began with a an Oli Kahea (greeting chant) recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, singing of the National Anthem and Hawaii Pono’i, speeches by veterans (clients and staff), including a poem “What Freedom Means to Me” written especially for the occasion by one of our young veterans:[quote]What Freedom Means to Me
I thank God for Freedom!
To me Freedom means peace of mind,
Living carefree and stress-free all the time,
Being free from hunger, sickness and disease.
To me Freedom means standing on my feet
And not being forced to live on my knees
But having the option to choose the lifestyle that I please.
To me Freedom is a gift that God has given
To both me and you.
And I pray that God allows our Freedom to continue.[/quote]
Also present at the event were members from the Aloha Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) founded in 1890, who participated by donating delicious sheet cakes for dessert and gifts of hand-made lap blankets for distribution to our client veterans along with certificates of appreciation from WCC staff.
In keeping with honoring our veterans, WCC held an all staff meeting on November 13th during which we honored our staff veterans at a pot luck luncheon that included presenting them with certificates of appreciation as well as a small token of our appreciation. One of our valued staff shared: “Thank you so much for the award. I feel so special. I served my county with honor and integrity during peace and war and now I serve you with honesty and diligence. Thank you.”