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In Honolulu, floating lanterns will recall loved ones on Memorial Day

You can honor loved ones at Punchbowl Cemetery and at a lantern ceremony on Memorial Day in Honolulu

Visitors can join Honolulu residents in remembering service members and citizens during Memorial Day observances that include a lantern ceremony.

The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (2177 Puowaina Drive, Honolulu) will extend its hours on Monday. About 50,000 people are expected for the annual lantern float at Ala Moana Beach Park.

Visitors often bring leis to honor the fallen at the cemetery, the final resting place of 53,000 veterans. That total includes 29,000 members of the military listed as missing in action, lost or buried at sea during World War II plus the Korean and Vietnam wars. Their names are engraved in 10 “Courts of the Missing.”

The cemetery in the Punchbowl, the crater of a dormant volcano just north of downtown Honolulu, will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The 90-minute lantern floating ceremony will begin at 6:15 p.m. with the sounding of the pu -- the Hawaiian name for the conch shell -- the beach park at 1201 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu, just west of Waikiki.

The ceremony will be led by Her Holiness Shinso Ito, leader of the Shinnyo-en Buddhist denomination. After her remarks, about 6,000 candlelit lanterns will be floated in the Pacific, each remembering a deceased loved one. The event is designed to emphasize cross-cultural awareness.

Lanterns will be available on a first-come, first-served basis from the lantern request tent at the beach park. It will be open 10 a.m.-4 p.m.  Monday.

Free parking is available at the Hawaii Convention Center (1801 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu), from which a free shuttle will take passengers to and from the beach.

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