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HPU helps kick off Military Appreciation Month

by Allen Brown

HPU helped kick off the 20th annual Hawai‘i Military Appreciation Month in opening ceremonies at the battleship USS Missouri Memorial on April 21. The military appreciation event was co-sponsored by HPU, its affiliate Oceanic Institute, and a number of other local companies and organizations, including Bank or Hawai‘i, The Honolulu Advertiser, and the Chamber of Commerce of Hawai‘i.


HPU participation served to solidify the affiliation between HPU’s downtown, windward, and Military Campus Programs, according to Robert Cyboron, MCP dean.

“ This is the first time HPU has sponsored this event,” said Cyboron. He added: “We are the largest university on military installations” in Hawai‘i.

HPU President’s Hosts, lead by Heather Hubbard, director of Student Life, escorted VIP attendees, including Admiral William Fallon, Commander, U.S. Pacific Command; Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, and Hawai‘i Governor Linda Lingle, who was the keynote speaker.

Fallon said, “It’s a thrill to be in this community,” and added: “It’s pretty moving isn’t it? To be here this evening, in this setting with the beautiful sunset and the wonderful Hawai‘i weather, on this hallowed ground, in the shadow of this mighty warship: for many have gone before us in service and sacrifice to us, to our nation.”

Moored at Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, the Battleship Missouri Memorial, the venue for the opening ceremony, a stark reminder of America’s strength and sacrifice, will be commemorating this year the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II. On its deck the peace treaty was signed in Tokyo Bay, Japan Sept. 2, 1945.

Hannemann said he felt very special because this was the first opportunity that he had to be a part of these ceremonies as the mayor of Honolulu: “These types of events allow us to look within ourselves to be able to make a connection to our country, to the U.S. military, for what it has done for each of us personally,” Hannemann said.

Governor Lingle added to the general sentiment of all the speakers.: “This is a great honor,” she said, “to stand before so many members of the military and be able to look at them and in a personal way let them know how grateful the lieutenant governor and I are for all their contributions to our nation.”

With the Arizona Memorial serving as the backdrop for the occasion, the serene sounds of the Navy band and the HPU International Vocal Ensemble serenaded about 1,000 invited guests with performances of the national anthem, the Navy hymn Eternal Father Strong to Save, and God Bless America.

Susan Duprey, director of Choral Activities for HPU, accepted Cyboron’s invitation to participate “with great enthusiasm,” she said, adding that she was delighted at the opportunity to perform before an audience of military families and celebrity guest speakers. “It’s a huge honor for us to be participating in this event,” Duprey said. “It is especially an honor for me because my husband is in the Marine Corps. It’s a great time to connect with the HPU military campus family,” she added.

The theme for this year’s appreciation month, according to the Hawai‘i Chamber of Commerce press release, is: “Welcoming home our returning heroes, honoring our fallen sons and daughters, praying for the safe return of those that remain in harm’s way.” The event is intended to recognize and honor the military and their families, and the opening ceremonies kicked off a month-long calendar of events throughout May.

HPU regularly participates in the Military Appreciation ceremonies Cyboron said, and has supported other smaller events on military installations such as the state sponsored “Operation Ohana” events. “Personally,” he added, “we would like to come back next year.”


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