Reflection on the original Memorial Day,as May 30th approaches, leads my thoughts to the recent Hawaiian Lantern Festival’s 10th Anniversary, May 25, 2009, that was also our current Memorial Day. Extensive videos of this year’s Festival can be viewed now at this KGMB link.
The 2009 Lantern Festival “Streaming Video” will be aired by television station KGMB 9 on May 30th, and again in early June.
Memorial Day commemoration for most of my life occurred on May 30th, but a few years ago the date was moved to the last Monday of the month in order to provide a long three day weekend. I’ve sometimes wondered if this change has resulted in many people gradually forgetting the true significance of this special day as they focus more on that day off work and social activities. I do respect the new date, and wrote a brief post here, but the 30th still automatically enters my mind as Memorial Day even though I know the legal date is past.
I recall as a small girl selling Buddy Poppies for the American Legion to raise funds for the Veterans. I was so proud the year I received the most contributions for I had an older loved one fighting in a foreign land during WWII at the time and this made me feel as though I was helping in some small way. My family member returned home safely from that war, but many did not. They join our ancestors who are remembered in the Hawaiian Lantern Festival that occurs on the new Memorial Day (25th this year) as I now commemorate the 30th date, too.
Another loved family member first acquainted me with the significance of the Hawaiian Lantern Festival in May 2007. Subsequently, I wrote a piece here including:
“The Hawaii Lantern Festival is in progress as I write this. I imagine the evening with darkness falling, the lanterns slowly floating out to sea honoring the spirit of those no longer living. On this particular evening, for our family, the names of loved ones, so recently with us in body and spirit, will be launched from the shoreline to ebb seaward.”
A 2007 Festival video was not available at that time but now is from YouTube: