Disclaimer: Due to COVID-19 concerns, many events might be canceled, postponed, or changed into limited versions, sometimes at very short notice. Please check with event organizers directly for the latest updates.
Memorial Day falls on the last Monday in May which results into a long three-day weekend in Hawaii, full of holiday picnics and family time on the beach. But it's also time to remember the servicemen and women of the U.S. armed forces, and Hawaii offers plenty of opportunities to do that.
Hawaii Memorial Day Parade in Honolulu (canceled in 2021)
The major highlight of the holiday is the Hawaii Memorial Day Parade in Honolulu. Marching military bands, scouts, military units, and veterans march from Fort DeRussey, Waikiki, down Kalakaua Avenue, then Monsarrat Avenue to the Waikiki Shell. The parade starts at 5 p.m. with a memorial ceremony and is followed by an evening concert afterward.
Memorial Day at the Natatorium (late May 2021, unconfirmed)
The official ceremony is held at the Waikiki Natatorium, honoring over the million of fallen military members who died from the American Revolution to Afganistan and Iraq. The service includes special hula performance and a 21-gun salute.
Memorial Day Ceremony at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (canceled in 2021)
The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific also hosts a ceremony with a cannon salute, a U.S. Air Force and Hawaii Air National Guard flyover, and music from the Royal Hawaiian Band.
Shinnyo Lantern Floating Hawaii at Ala Moana Beach Park (May 31, 2021, canceled)
Finally, Oahu's southern shore hosts the beautiful Shinnyo Lantern Floating held every year on Memorial Day. The unique ceremony at Ala Moana Beach Park attracts more than 40,000 participants every time.
Shower of Flowers at the Makawao Veterans Cemetery, Maui County
Maui holds one of the most significant Memorial Day ceremonies in the state. The program features Blue Hawaiian Helicopters drop 10,000 rose petals over the veterans’ graves at Makawao Veterans Cemetery. A spectacular tribute called Shower of Flowers is organized by the Maui County Veterans Council. The memorial service starts at 8:30 a.m. on Monday by the Vietnam War Monument and at the Makawao Veterans Cemetery. The program includes marching bands, firefighters, reading of the names, and dove release as a sign of peace.