Updated at 10:16 p.m., Saturday, May 5, 2007
Tiny bubbles fitting end for Ho farewell
By Dan Nakaso
Advertiser Staff Writer
Honolulu police estimated the crowd at tonight's concert at 10,000 people far less than the 25,000 that organizers had expected.
The concert ended with everyone singing "Hawai'i Pono'i," just after Ho's daughter, Hoku, sang her father's standard, "I'll Remember You."
"That was for daddy," Hoku Ho said. "I love you daddy."
Earlier, Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona said, "I've never seen anything like this in my lifetime....Whether it was his music or his spirit, we will remember Don Ho."
The concert featuring an all-star lineup of Hawai'i entertainers included tributes by Hawai'i dignitaries, such as state Sen. Clayton Hee and Mayor Mufi Hannemann.
It began with performances by Sonny Ching's Halau Na Mamo 'O Pu'uanahulu, Society of Seven Las Vegas, the Brothers Cazimero and several of Ho's children.
Jimmy Borges changed the lyrics of "My Way" to "We love you so, you're our Don Ho."
Earlier, Ho's family scattered his ashes in the waters off Waikiki, accompanied by a water-cannon salute by the Honolulu Fire Department's fire boat, a helicopter flower drop and a memorial flyby by a Hawai'i Air National Guard F-15 Eagle fighter jet.
Ho's ashes were scattered at 5:50 p.m. about half a mile offshore.
Ho's family had held a private service that included a recording of Ho singing "I'll Remember You" and live performances by some of his 10 children.
Ho's ashes sat in the front of the service in a koa urn and were later divided in ti leaves and carried by family members to the beach in front of the Royal Hawaiian.
The procession made its way to the flotilla amid the blowing of conch shells.
The mood of the service was relaxed, with some people applauding the performances by Ho's children. Others cried, especially when the two Ho recordings were played.
Family members wore white and were joined by Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, Honolulu Police Chief Boisse Correa and U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie.
"It's a sad day," Hannemann said. "I think Don wants us to celebrate his life."
Pastor Tom Ainucci described Ho as an athlete, veteran and entertainer who "embodied the spirit of aloha."
Ho's philosophy, Ainucci said, was "that everybody should be treated fairly, that everybody should be welcomed."
The service on the lawn of the Sheraton Waikiki hotel, adjacent to the Royal Hawaiian hotel, attracted dozens of tourists who ringed the area and watched from hotel windows.
Hilton employees presented Ho's family with a 76-foot-long plumeria lei they made that was draped on the canoe carrying Ho's ashes.
Each foot of the lei is intended to honor each year of Ho's life. He died April 14 of heart failure.
Reach Dan Nakaso at email@example.com.