Happy Veteran's Day to all those who have served!  There may be no other state in the United States where the military culture is more a part of life than in Hawaii.  This may come as a suprise to some, but anyone who has lived here, on Oahu, knows that the military living on Oahu are an integral part of the community and the island economy is dependent upon it.  Military service members and their dependents make up roughly 1/8 to 1/10 of the entire population of the State of Hawaii.  On Oahu, where there are numerous military bases, the percentage of the military population is even higher.

On Friday, I attended a Military Appreciation Day Celebration and Mass at St. Anthony School in Kailua.  This Military Appreciation Day Celebration was made even more special because my husband, who is currently serving in Afghanistan, was home on leave and able to attend with my son and me.

Lt. Col. Neil C. Ahearn and Dean Ahearn

At the mass, Oahu military service members from all branches of the military, including the US Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard, and even the Australian Army, were honored and remembered. Representatives from Kaneohe Bay Marine Corps Base in Kailua (MCBH) attended.  The Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts attending the school served as ushers, handing out programs and paper leis to the Oahu military service members and spouses.

Lt. Col. Jeff Davis, Commanding Officer of HMH 436 on MCBH spoke about the role of the military.  He talked about the times of war, which we have been through over the past several years, but reinforced that historically, there have been more times of peace than war.  At times of peace, the role of the military is to provide service and humanitarian aid.  He mentioned many of the things that the military does to care for the poor and underserved in our communities. 

The Principal of the school also spoke and thanked the Oahu military service members in attendance, and others that were not present.  She emphasized that were it not for the military, we all would not have the freedoms that we enjoy in our country, including the freedom to choose where and how we worship.  I was impressed with all the speakers and the focus of the program, in highlighting all of the good that the military does both on Oahu and other parts of the U.S., and abroad, keeping us secure, and in helping to guarantee our valuable Constitutional rights. And I am thankful for our military.

Lt. Col. Neil Ahearn, Afghan National Security Force Development, Marine Expeditionary Force (FORWARD), Lt. Col. Olllie Oliver, Commanding Officer, HMH 362 MCBH, Lt. Col. Jeff Davis, Commanding Officer HMH 463 MCBH, Major Dan Rubel, HMH 362 MCBH 

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