Hawaii State Art Museum - Honolulu, HI
The land of leis and luaus opened its arms wide in tribute to Medal of Honor recipients gathered in Honolulu for a once-in-a-lifetime event.
Four Medal of Honor recipients, including Hawaiian residents Barney Hajiro and Shizuya Hayashi, were special guests at the premiere of TriWest's Visions of Valor exhibit, a collection of dramatic black and white photographs of Medal of Honor recipients on display at the historic Hawai'i State Art Museum in Honolulu from June 29 - July 5.
In a ceremony hosted by Major General Robert G. F. Lee, the Adjutant General of the State of Hawaii at the Hawai'i State Art Museum on June 29th. Military leaders from the area joined members of the business and healthcare communities in honoring these brave men for their heroic acts. Dave McIntyre addressed the strengths and sacrifices of these heroic men. "Living in a time when we struggle to find heroes that matter and people that do things that matter, I would suggest that we need to look no further than to those that wear the Medal of Honor... for you truly embody the concept of service before self."
— Shaun M., USN
Medal of Honor recipient Tommy Norris also spoke at the ceremony and discussed the meaning of the Medal of Honor. Norris received his medal while serving in Vietnam and holds the distinction of being the only Medal of Honor recipient to be saved by another Medal of Honor Recipient Michael Thornton.
Following the ceremony, Norris along with Ken Stumpf, another recipient from the mainland, received an unexpected and moving welcome during a night on the town at a luau at the Hale Koa Resort by an audience of some 900 visitors, guests and locals.
When they learned that two Medal of Honor recipients were in their midst, a massive standing ovation accompanied by loud and enthusiastic cheers and applause erupted, filling the giant open-air amphitheater and overwhelming the surprised recipients.
The Medal of Honor recipients participated in other events during their time in Hawaii, including a visit to TriWest's Hawaii Hub followed by a visit to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, where the veterans paid tribute to the fallen.
On a visit to the Tripler's Army Medical Center l, recipients and TriWest staff met with injured soldiers who have returned from overseas. The Medal of Honor recipients formed a special bond with a soldier who had fallen 110 feet during a training accident and landed on his head. Miraculously he survived, but he suffered skull damage, brain loss and lost his eye. Norris, who faced similar injuries while serving in Vietnam, became an inspiration for the young soldier in his recovery.