Memorial Day weekend events on Oahu

By Hawaii.com Team
Lanterns float on the water at Ala Moana Beach Park

Photo: Jamm Aquino / Star-Advertiser

Memorial Day offers the chance to reflect and pay tribute to military personnel who have died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Observed on the final Monday of May each year, Memorial Day is a big deal in Hawaii, given the deep history and modern day military presence in the islands. As such, there are plenty of events over Memorial Day weekend on Oahu and varying ways to pay your respects.

Hawaii Memorial Day Parade

The annual Memorial Day Parade begins at Fort DeRussey in Waikiki with a memorial ceremony. The parade proceeds down Kalakaua Avenue for 1 mile, then goes along Monsarrat Avenue to Kapiolani Park.

The parade theme is “remembering the past and celebrating our future,” and that theme is brought to life by marching bands, floats, military groups and local and national dignitaries and organizations.

The 2020 Memorial Day Parade begins at 5 p.m. on May 23. Arrive early to get a good view, as the free event draws large crowds every year.

Mayor’s Memorial Day Ceremony at Punchbowl Crater

The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, commonly referred to as Punchbowl Crater, is the resting place of more than 25,000 veterans who served in the military. Each year on Memorial Day, the Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation coordinates a ceremony to honor those men and women.

The 2020 Mayor’s Memorial Day Ceremony begins at 8:30 a.m. at Punchbowl Crater.

The cemetery is located at 2177 Puowaina Drive and is open to the public and accessible by car, though parking restrictions are generally in place on Memorial Day. For the latest information on the Mayor’s Memorial Day Ceremony at Punchbowl, call (808) 532-3720 or visit https://www.cem.va.gov/cems/nchp/nmcp.asp.

Lantern Floating Ceremony

The Shinnyo Lantern Floating Hawaii ceremony takes place on Memorial Day each year, drawing an estimated 50,000 people to Ala Moana Beach Park and thousands more around the world via live stream.

Specially crafted floating lanterns, inscribed with personal messages and prayers, are sent floating on the ocean in a touching, beautiful show of remembrance.

Lanterns are available at a tent set up at Ala Moana Beach Park from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., or until the lanterns run out.

Free parking is available at the Hawaii Convention Center from 7 a.m. to 11:59 p.m., with a complimentary shuttle available from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., then again after the ceremony up until 9 p.m.

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