Community honors service members with appreciation day
By Sgt. Juan D. Alfonso
| | May 22, 2010
WAIKIKI, Hawaii --
Military Appreciation Day
Thousands of Hawaii-based service members, friends and family gathered May 22 in Waikiki for Military Appreciation Day.
The annual event, sponsored by USO Hawaii and the city and county of Honolulu, featured complimentary admission, food and drinks at the Honolulu Zoo for service members and their families.
Across the street at Kapiolani Park, the Combined Armed Forces Jazz Band, Hawaii, the Royal Hawaiian Band, local singer Henry Kapono and Blues rockers “Friends of Adam” played a collection of tunes.
Numerous booths and activities for the families were also provided.
“One of the ways the USO supports the military is by providing morale, welfare and recreation opportunities for service members and their families,” said Kyle Brockett, USO Hawaii chairman-elect. “We really try to focus on their families as much as we can. A lot of them have husbands and wives in Iraq and Afghanistan right now and having the opportunity to take their minds off of that with a day of fun and recreation makes it all worth the effort.”
For many, the highlight of the festivities was a parade featuring more than 2,000 service members from all branches of the military, vehicles, bands and several military affiliated organizations, such as local Junior Reserve Officer Corps cadets.
“I think this year’s Military Appreciation Day went really well not just for the service members but also for the all the tourists and people who were at the parade,” Brockett said. “You could tell they really enjoyed getting to see the U.S. military march in the parade. Overall I’d say it was a big success.”
This year’s Military Appreciation Day Parade was the first since 2006.