A very somber moment in our state’s history, the 2009 Hawaii Medal of Honor ceremony was marked with sadness, loss, great honor, and profound gratitude. Honoring our fallen soldiers, Senate President Colleen Hanabusa offered these remarks:
As a citizen of this great land, born with the freedom to speak, to believe and to dream, free to express personal thoughts without fear of recrimination or reprisal, to protest and participate in government, I am thankful to be a part of this ceremony in honor of our fallen heroes.
In protecting all we treasure, in defending all we hold dear, and in preserving those values which distinguish us as proud Americans, no man and no woman stands sentry alone. We stand as a nation and a community, beside them in spirit and with them in a shared commitment.
And just as surely as we will not see them stand alone, we will not allow them to fall alone. We stand together in their name, by pausing to reflect on the unshakable duty and unquenchable bravery that have marked their passage among us. We share the pride of countrymen, and share the tears of brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers and friends.
Today, we gather in joint session to honor those who have made a sacrifice for which we cannot ask, and shall not forget. We honor the family, friends and colleagues who have also sacrificed…who have themselves paid a price…and who helped make today’s honorees the brave, strong individuals that we called on and counted on to serve our nation.
We offer this honor as a small token that can never in itself repay the honor that has been given us. An honor borne of courage, driven by duty, and paid for in loss.
The roll of heroes that we call today is more than a list of names. It is an acknowledgement of community.
The Hawai‘i Medal of Honor is reserved for those who have touched our islands, and have felt the touch of our people. And in offering it to those gathered here, in memory of those who have fallen, we recognize that they are a part of us. For each and every one of you, your tears are our tears. Your loss, our loss. Your pride, our pride. Wherever each of these medals finds its final home, a piece of our hearts goes with it. You will always be a part of our ohana, our family, because you have brought us honor, and allowed us to share these lives.
These medals symbolize our aloha. Our farewell to those we have lost. But also our love for those who have lived among us, touched us, and sacrificed for us. And our enduring welcome for all represented here today, the fallen and their families, who will be counted among us forever.
A grateful state best honors and remembers the sacrifices of these who have served our nation by living our lives in deepest appreciation of our freedom. That is what they defended. That is what they fought and died for.
In reflecting on another day marked with great bravery and great sacrifice, Shakespeare wrote, “This story shall the good man teach his son.” We owe no less a duty to our honorees and to future generations. These names and deeds shall remain etched in our state’s shared history. And we will each say to a companion, young or old, at a moment of great pride or great sadness, “I have heard a story of brave Americans.”
Today, we remember, in moments of quiet reflection, each and every one of these heroes. We stand united to honor their memory and express our profound gratitude for their ultimate sacrifice.
2009 HAWAII MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENTS
United States Marine Corps Sergeant Phillip A. Bocks
Posted by Hawaii Senate Majority Caucus
United States Army Sergeant Ireno S. Lacerna
United States Army Sergeant Gary D. Willett
United States Army Sergeant First Class Jerald A. Whisenhunt
United States Army Sergeant Timothy P. Martin
United States Army Corporal Michael T. Manibog
United States Army Specialist Gregory B. Rundell
United States Army Specialist Jeremiah C. Hughes
United States Army Sergeant First Class David L. McDowell
United States Army Sergeant John K. Daggett
United States Army Private Eugene D.M. Kanakaole
United States Marine Corps Captain Philip J. Dykeman
United States Marine Corps Corporal Marcus W. Preudhomme
United States Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Max A. Galeai
United States Army Corporal William L. McMillan III
United States Army First Lieutenant Jonathan P. Brostrom
United States Army Sergeant Kenneth B. Gibson
United States Army Staff Sergeant Julian F.A. Manglona
United States Army Private First Class Christopher A. McCraw
United States Army Staff Sergeant Solomon T. Sam
United States Marine Corps Corporal Thomas Reilly Jr.
United States Army Private First Class Christopher W. Lotter
United States Army Private Sean P. McCun