Friday, November 11, 2011


The annual Wahiawa Veterans' Day parade has been a tradition for 60 years, but this year, with the APEC conference being held here on island, the parade has been canceled.  Just like that.  The permit was denied, with the explanation that there would not be enough security available for the parade, since the parade would necessitate a lane closure.  We aren't talking about a lane closure in Waikiki or Pearl City, mind you, which would no doubt lead to madness and mayhem.  We are talking about a lane closure in Wahiawa, a small town where the residents have been accustomed to a one-lane closure each year on this date.  No madness, no mayhem.  Just respect.
So let's problem-solve. Perhaps a smaller than usual contingent of officers could be sent?  Nope, because if (and it's an unlikely "if") anything went wrong, someone would sue, claiming that more officers should have been there.   Also, the terrorists (or worse, the protestors) would sense the lack of a handful of officers and would storm the APEC conference.  Perhaps some of the MP's from neighboring Schofield could be of assistance?  Nope, not unless martial law is declared.  Perhaps the parade should be held on another day?  No, because apparently that would be "too close to Thanksgiving," whatever that means.

Bureaucracy for the win!
The point isn't really even the parade.  It's what the permit rejection represents.  It is what the parade represents.  It is the fact that even as our hearts swell with pride as our troops and our veterans march by, they also ache, as they should.   In this day and age, we often do not see very many public displays of patriotism -- patriotism detached from political agendas and consumerism, that is.   The Veterans' Day parade is a celebratory and reverential occasion.
The fact that it was treated like any other event (except for APEC), and that it did not rank just as high or higher than the APEC conference ("which will be wonderful for Hawaii's economy", "which will show the world the true Aloha spirit," "which will bring glory to Hawaii") makes me really wonder about whether the system is working for us or failing us.  It's just a parade, sure, but it is also a deeply meaningful 60-year tradition.
Why couldn't there have been a way around the red tape?


  1. It's amazing how much "police presence" they think is needed for our little hometown parade. Who is going to protest the awesome sight of veterans and perhaps the Iliahi Ukulele troupe. *sigh*

    Red tape shmed tape.

  2. That is really sad. Sometimes I think the Powers that Be have become way too concerned with so-called "security."