Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Thirty, twenty-seven, twenty-four, twenty...

Those are just a few of the ages of members of our U.S. Armed Forces killed during war. As the numbers decrease, the faces get younger and the heart breaks just a little more.

Family members, friends and comrades sat in the Senate Chambers as lawmakers paid tribute to twenty-three service members, with ties to Hawaii, who perished while at war in the Middle East. The recipients were honored with the Hawaii Medal of Honor for their service and sacrifice to the United States of America.

The mood was somber. The ding of the bell reverberated off the walls of the state capitol as the names and ages of our fallen heroes were announced. People in the gallery watched, many with tears in their eyes, as families and friends accepted the Hawaii Medal of Honor on behalf of their loved ones.

Speaker Calvin Say concluded the ceremony with remarks that surely resonated with each person gathered in the chambers…every family making dinner plans…the young man in camouflage anxiously waiting to get online to talk to his girlfriend…the young woman taping pictures of her newborn baby to the roof of her bunk in the middle of the desert miles away from home.

"Ultimately, all the soldiers should be home, with their loved ones. And for those who did not find their way home, please take some solace in knowing that their hearts and spirits are at home, where they have always belonged, with you…It is my greatest hope that one day soon, it will no longer be necessary for us to come together every spring to memorialize the fallen. My greatest wish is for the Hawaii Medal of Honor to retire quietly into history, a poignant but obsolete relic of a past that no longer burdens us."

United States Marine Corps Sergeant Phillip A. Bocks
United States Army Sergeant Ireno S. Lacerna
United States Army Sergeant Gary D. Willett
United State Army Sergeant First Class Jerald A. Whisenhunt
United States Army corporal Michael T. Manibog
United States Army Specialist Gregory B. Rundell
United States Army Specialist Jeremiah C. Hughes
United States Army Sergeant First Class David L. McDowell
United States Army Sergeant John K. Daggett
United States Army Private Eugene D.M. Kanakaole
United States Marine Corps Captain Philip J. Dykeman
United States Marine Corps Corporal Marcus W. Preudhomme
United States Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Max A. Galeai
United States Army corporal William L. McMillan III
United States Army First Lieutenant Johnathan P. Brostrom
United States Army Sergeant Kenneth B. Gibson
United States Army Staff Sergeant Julian F. A. Manglona
United States Army Private First Class Christopher A. McCraw
United States Army Staff Sergeant Solomon T. Sam
United States Marine Corps Corporal Thomas Reilly Jr.
United States Army Private First Class Christopher W. Lotter
United States Army Private Sean P. McCune

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