Waikiki parade honors Pearl Harbor survivors
By William Cole
Advertiser Military Writer
This year's Waikiki Holiday Parade will be unlike any other.
Kamehameha Schools' marching band will be one of 26 bands to perform in the Waikiki Holiday Parade, which is also a tribute to the 60th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
With the 60th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor expected to serve as a last hurrah for aging survivors, organizers of this Friday's parade decided to pay homage to those who fought back on Dec. 7, 1941, with an equally big parade.
"Some of the survivors said one of the things they wanted was a big parade for the 60th," said event president Jake Peppers.
The battleships and cruisers, all but one of which were hit in the attack on Pearl Harbor, will be represented by high school marching bands from around the country.
For example, the USS Oklahoma will be represented by Tahlequah High School from Oklahoma, the USS Pennsylvania by Freedom High School in Pennsylvania and the USS Tennessee by Overton High School in Tennessee.
All told, there will be 26 marching bands in the procession down Kalakaua Avenue, which steps off from Fort DeRussy at 7 p.m. the day after Thanksgiving and ends at the Honolulu Zoo. By comparison, the next Fiesta Bowl parade will likely have 15 bands, and the Rose Bowl 12, Peppers said.
"It's definitely going to be the biggest parade ever held in Hawai'i in terms of numbers of bands," Peppers said. "If people like bands, they've got to come down here."
Bands will carry banners for each Pearl Harbor ship, with its name, number and "Dec. 7, 1941, In Memoriam." Following them will be survivors of the attack riding in parade cars.
The only exception is the cruiser USS Indianapolis, torpedoed in the South Pacific July 30, 1945, after delivering parts of the atom bomb "Little Boy," which would be dropped on Hiroshima.
Peppers said Kimo Wilder McVay of Honolulu, son of Indianapolis commanding officer Capt. Charles Butler McVay III, was expected to ride in the parade, but he died June 29.
Instead, Paul Murphy, one of 93 living survivors of the Indianapolis and president of the USS Indianapolis Survivors Association, will be coming in from Denver to serve as grand marshal.
"He's coming over just for the parade," Peppers said.
Normally, the event, sponsored by the Doubletree Alana Waikiki Hotel and now in its third year, features Christmas music. Parade-
goers also will hear "God Bless America," "Salute to the Armed Forces" and "Battle Hymn of the Republic."
Last year saw 15 marching bands, floats and tens of thousands of spectators.
This year's effort "is a patriotic parade, but it's a Christmas parade too," Peppers said. "The local bands will be more on the Christmas side, while the visiting bands will be more on military music. I think it will work out."
About 1,200 Mainland high school band members are making the trip.
Punahou School, representing the cruiser USS Honolulu, along with bands from Iolani, Kamehameha, Kalani, Castle, Radford, Kaiser, Leilehua and Sacred Hearts Academy, will be part of the local turnout.
Ten bands will play at the USS Arizona Memorial and at the battleship Missouri between today and Sunday. The Timp View High School band from Utah will play several pieces on Ford Island, fronting the remains of the target and training ship Utah.
"There won't be anybody there," Peppers said. "It will just be the band and the flagstaff, but they wanted to do that."
There will be other Pearl Harbor tie-ins.
Sacred Hearts' 130-girl band will be led by band director Alec Briguglio, whose father was stationed at Schofield Barracks on Dec. 7, 1941.
Briguglio will wear his father's garrison cap in the parade.
"I grew up with these Pearl Harbor survivors they used to come over to our house," Briguglio said. "(Dec. 7) meant so much to them. It was just a 'never forget' attitude, and it ties in so much with what's happening now."
At 10 a.m. tomorrow, Sacred Hearts will play at the Arizona Memorial. That will be followed by a performance at the Missouri around 11 a.m.
William Cole can be reached at 525-5459 or firstname.lastname@example.org.