June 29, 2022

A community honors its departed

Written by Nelinia Cabiles, Managing Editor, Lanai Today

Originally published in the June 2022 issue of Lanai Today.

We recognize the proper use of the Hawaiian language including the ‘okina [‘], a glottal stop, and the kahakō [ō] or macron (e.g., in place names of Hawai‘i such as Lāna‘i). However, these have been omitted from this website for the best online experience for our visitors. We realize the importance and continue to use them outside of the online platform.

Off the island’s main road, about a mile from town, and set on a rise of bare earth amidst old Cook pine trees, is the Lanai cemetery. Even with the wind stirring the leaves of the pine trees, the quiet is deep there. It is as tranquil and reflective and sobering a place as one might want of a cemetery, especially if what one feels called to do is reflect and remember those who are gone.

This past Memorial Day, scores of volunteers from the community came to clean the grounds of the Lanai cemetery, raking fallen pine needles and dead branches into mounds. Kerri Glickstein, LHS band teacher played “Taps” among members of the Lanai Leos, a group that has provided this community service at the cemetery since 2008, according to Pat Niibu, Lanai Lions Club member.

The cemetery clean-up is nearly a decade-old Memorial Day tradition in the Lanai community, but this year a new collaboration between the Lanai Culture & Heritage Center (Lāna‘i CHC) and Pulama Lanai created new opportunities for the community to honor those who have passed.

With help from the community, Lanai CHC put together over 1200 mini bouquets for each and every grave at the Lanai cemetery and Lanai Veteran’s cemetery.

“The mission of the Lanai CHC is to honor the past. Memorial Day naturally evokes that kind of inward reflection,” says Shelly Preza, Lanai CHC. “We thought that inviting the community to make mini bouquets for everyone at our cemeteries would be a good way to remember and honor those who have come before us.

“In past years, Pulama Lanai has purchased orchid lei for each grave at the cemetery, but this year, a lei shortage curtailed these plans. Instead, Pulama Lanai supported this new Lanai CHC initiative and got many of its employees involved in gathering foliage from its nursery, prepping the foliage to be added to bouquets, and making over 600 bouquets in just a few hours. Lanai CHC is extremely grateful to the community for coming together to put together bouquets and spend Memorial Day placing flowers and cleaning the cemetery. Aohe hana nui ke alu ia. No task is too big when done together by all. Mahalo nui!”

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