Dear Members and Friends,
MDAA is proud to announce to you the “Kauai Veteran’s Eternal Memorial and Missile Defense Viewing Site” located at Barking Sands, Pacific Range Missile Facility, Kauai, Hawaii. A permanent tribute and memorial to those that have served and those that will continue to serve our Armed Forces and an embedment of missile defense to defend and protect our nation and armed forces.
Senator Daniel Inouye, senior Senator from Hawaii participated in the ground breaking ceremony on Friday along with Rear Admiral Joe Horn, Deputy Director of the Missile Defense Agency, Captain Aaron Cudnohufsky, Commander of the Pacific Range Missile Facility, Turk Tokita, Kauai’s oldest veteran and myself representing all of you and MDAA’s membership throughout the United States.
“I wish to also commend the Department of Defense and the Navy and the personnel here for initiating the process to establish this extraordinary partnership that came forth with this eternal memorial. This is a great demonstration of what can happen with great leadership. We in Hawaii are most fortunate for having this leadership located at Barking Sands. This will stand here to remind us that working together everything is possible. So Captain, I thank you very much for your leadership in this venture. It will stand here in your legacy for eons to come.” – Senator Daniel Inouye
MDAA played a pivotal part in the creation, design and development of this historic memorial as this now represents our second missile defense memorial that provides permanent recognition and education of missile defense to the American Public. The first was the Ronald Reagan Missile Defense Viewing Site located at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
Inspiration for this site revolves around Senator Inouye’s service to our nation, his creation of PRMF and his unwavering support of missile defense. The Senator is a recipient of our nation’s highest honor “The Congressional Medal of Honor” of which I had the honor of attending his recipient ceremony years ago. In addition, the Hawaiian culture weaved with the importance of both PRMF and missile defense to the local community of Kauai played a tremendous factor into the inspiration and creation of the memorial. The pohaku piko, a blessed four foot massive rock, hand selected by Hawaiian tradition from the island of Kauai centers the memorial. In Hawaiian Culture, the Hawaiian word pohaku means large rock and piko represents the umbilical cord, the life connection we have with the present.
Enclosed are the excerpts of my speech on behalf of MDAA and our membership at the groundbreaking ceremony, Friday the 10th of April, 2009.
Thank you, Capt. Cundnohufsky for the introduction. You have been the leader of a collective effort that has reached out and brought together the local community with the base to make the Kauai Veterans Eternal Memorial and Missile Defense Site a reality and to make this memorial be the best it can be.
Aloha, everyone and good morning to all of our distinguished guests,
It is inspiring and a honor to be with so many gathered from the community here today to dedicate a living eternal memorial to all of those that have served and continue to serve our great nation from the Hawaiian Island of Kauai in memory of those that gave and those that will continue to give the upmost sacrifice for our freedoms.
This is no better represented and reflected then upon the POHAKU rising before you. As it is a testament of time and has weathered the storms of generations, to stand before you solid, with spirit that will remain here throughout the rest of time to LEAN on, to TOUCH, to REFLECT, to HEAL and to the be the Cornerstone to build our HUMAN Spirit to ENDURE.
Visions of this memorial set seed years ago from inspirations of our wounded, our heroes and those that have served.
The memorial is made up of native rocks and water centered around the Pohaku, situated on a open space with the stunning makaha ridge as a backdrop. A tensile roof shade structure that provides protection from the elements. This structure will be supported by 6 native lava rock columns, representing each branch which veterans of Kauai have served. Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, Merchant Marines.
The Kauai Veterans Eternal Memorial and Missile Defense Viewing Site faces out over the canopy of native trees where the local community and guests to the island can view future missile defense tests that ensure our country and our people are safe. For our youth, for our community, this memorial represents access to learn and engage with high technology, engineering and science. This memorial offers inspiration to all.
There are very few people, anywhere in any era, who give their entire life in the service of their country. It is rare and rare is an understatement, but Senator Daniel Inouye is that rare and truly extraordinary human being who has made service to the country his life’s work. At 17 as a second generation Japanese American he was a medical volunteer at Pearl Harbor; in 1943 he enlisted in the Army to join the 442nd Regimental Combat Team which became the most highly decorated unit in the history of the United States Army. He fought in Italy, He Fought in France. He was the recipient of our country’s highest honor, the Congressional Medal of Honor for extraordinary heroism. He lost his arm.
This coming August 21st, Senator Inouye will complete 50 years of congressional service. Yes, he entered Congress the same day, Hawaii entered the Union as a State. 50 years of Congressional Service, 47 as a US Senator. And what a 50 years it has been. Accomplishment after Accomplishment and we are standing in the midst of one of them that has much meaning for this community and for the defense and security of our nation. The Pacific Missile Range Facility, which Senator In-no-way sponsored and created in legislation by his leadership in Congress. This facility which employs close to a thousand people with the local community is and has been a stalwart in making our country, our armed forces and our generation safer against ballistic missiles from Rouge Nations. Senator Inouye’s unwavering support of missile defense and the Pacific Range Missile Facility is to be commended.
We cannot over estimate his legacy on what he has done to this nation, this generation and this community. He is one of the most self less, dedicated, respected and decent citizens in our nation’s history.
He is Hawaiian’s number one son and America’s Strength- Senator Daniel Inouye, thank you.
I am very honored to introduce a man that fought alongside of Senator Inouye in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in World War II. He is Kauai’s oldest living Veteran. I have had the distinguished pleasure of sharing a bowl of tripe for Breakfast a few times at Tip Top with his best friend Johnnie, and Ed Hahmon.
Turk Tokita is a life member of the disabled American Veterans, Kauai Chapter 5, Life member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Life Member of the Kauai 442nd Veteran’s Club. His commitment to the Veterans began in 1953 when he became a charter member of the Disabled American Veterans Kauai Chapter No 5. He always believed in the motto.
“Veterans helping Veterans”
Ladies and Gentlemen