Kaneohe Girl Scouts Stage Flower Drive Saturday For Veterans’ Graves

Kaneohe Girl Scout Troop No. 1018 decorating graves at Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery in 2011. To make this year’s ‘Lei of Aloha’ Memorial Day project a success, members will collect blossoms and greenery from 10 am. to 2 p.m. May 25 at Windward Mall. Photo from Marissa Lum.

Castle High sophomore Marissa Lum has turned to flowers in the pursuit of her Girl Scout Gold Award, and it’s time to collect a few.

“Through the years, the number of veterans laid to rest has risen, and the number of leis to decorate the memorials has declined,” Lum said to explain her project at Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery.

As part of Kaneohe Troop No. 1018, she helps decorate the graves each May at the state graveyard, along with Girl Scouts from all over the island. They honor veterans the day before Memorial Day, while the Boy Scouts bring flags and leis to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl on the holiday itself (May 27).

Lum and her troop plan to collect flowers from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Windward Mall center court to support their own Lei of Aloha project. “This year I wanted to make the event on a wider scale,” she said, “by inviting the public to come and help us sew leis.

“Part of my project,” she noted, “is also bringing in a few outreach programs that are geared toward supporting the military, the veterans and their families.”

The mall will provide a tent fronting Kamehameha Highway to ease the public’s flower drop-off, though everyone is invited inside to sew leis, learn about veterans’ programs and hear their personal stories.

Suggested blossoms are stephanotis, plumeria, bougainvillea, crown flowers or “anything from your backyard, or even your neighbor’s.” Also useful are stalks of ginger, heliconia and other tropicals (lengths of 1.5 feet maximum). The cemetery also accepts silk, ribbon and yarn leis.

For details, call 235-6346.