Lantern Floating Hawaii, a longstanding Memorial Day tradition at Magic Island, Oahu.  

Photo courtesy: Shinnyo-en

Five things to do on Oahu this Memorial Day weekend

Some of the best ways to get to the heart of Memorial Day.

A three-day weekend is traditionally the perfect opportunity for beach barbecues and holiday picnics, but here are ways you can get to the heart of the holiday too, and remember the servicemen and women that Memorial Day honors.

1. Hawaii Memorial Day Parade

Saturday, May 27, 2017

memorial day parade
The Hawaii Memorial Day Parade. 
Photo courtesy: Hawaii Memorial Day Parade

Each year, a parade of marching bands, scouts, military organizations and other colorful sights pays tribute to our veterans, active military and military families. The parade route begins with an opening ceremony at Fort DeRussey in Waikiki at 5 p.m. and heads down Kalakaua Avenue, then takes Monsarrat Avenue to the Waikiki Shell, where an evening concert is held afterward. Fort Derussy Park, 2055 Kalia Rd., Waikiki, memorialdayparade.com.

2. Mele Under the Stars featuring Amy Hanaialii

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Amy Hanaialii
Photo courtesy: Amy Hanaialii

Catch a huge concert at the Waikiki Shell with Hawaiian classics, opera favorites, and a tribute to our military service personnel, headlined by Grammy-nominated Na Hoku Hanohano award winner Amy Hanaialii. She’ll be joined by opera soloists, including star soprano Audrey Luna, mezzo-soprano Maya Hoover, baritone Christian Bowers and tenor Cody Austin. 2805 Monsarrat Ave., Honolulu. Tickets $20-$95, with discounted military, group and child rates, hawaiiopera.org or (808) 596-7858.

3. Memorial Day Observance at the Natatorium

Sunday, May 28, 2017

hula natatorium
Keiki (children) performing hula at the Waikiki Natatorium.
Photo courtesy: Friends of the Waikiki Natatorium

The 29th annual observance at the Waikiki Natatorium, Hawaii’s official memorial to those who served and died in World War I, honors an estimated 1.32 million fallen military members, from the American Revolution to the World Wars, Afganistan and Iraq. This yearʻs keynote speaker is 80-year-old retired Maj. Gen. Patrick H. Brady, an Army helicopter pilot and commander in Vietnam and recipient of the Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star and Purple Heart. The ceremony includes hula performances and a 21-gun salute and bugle call. 10 a.m., 2815 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu, natatorium.org.

4. Lantern Floating Hawaii

Monday, May 29, 2017
 

lantern floating
Lantern Floating Hawaii. 
Photo courtesy: Shinnyo-en

Each Memorial Day, thousands of paper lanterns float into the bay at Magic Island, carrying with them the remembrances, hopes and dreams of those honoring lost loved ones. The ceremony, hosted by the Shinnyo-en Buddhist order, begins at 6:10 p.m. with a taiko performance, followed by a Hawaiian oli (chant) and hula, music and the lighting by community leaders of the Light of Harmony at 6:30 p.m. Lanterns are distributed on a first come, first serve basis. Free event parking is available at the Hawaii Convention Center from 7 a.m. until midnight; a shuttle will transport people from the Hawaii Convention Center to Ala Moana for free. Magic Island, Honolulu, lanternfloatinghawaii.com.

5.  National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific

Monday, May 29, 2017
 

punchbowl cemetery
The entrance to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. 
Photo: Daniel Ramirez/Flickr

Pay your respects to the fallen service men and women buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, commonly called Punchbowl Cemetery. Each Memorial Day, Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops of Oahu visit the Punchbowl crater and lay an estimated 38,000 fresh flower lei on the graves. A memorial ceremony, which will include speeches, presentation of wreath, a cannon salute, a U.S. Air Force and Hawaii Air National Guard flyover, playing of taps and performances by the Royal Hawaiian Band starts at 8:30 a.m. 2177 Puowaina Dr., Honolulu, cem.va.gov.