Pūʻali Koa

n. Armed forces, troops, regiment, brigade, corps.

Today, I get to stay home from work in celebration of Veteran’s Day. Yay me! I didn’t spend a lick of time in any Armed Forces yet I get to reap the benefits of the sacrifices made by soldiers of our nation.

Okay, in terms of sacrifice, I suppose my family sacrificed. My dad served two terms in Vietnam, leaving my mom to take care of three kids for a year at a time for each stint. My Uncle Alvin Iaea is still MIA from the Korean War, my brother enlisted in the Army and I still recall her sobbing in the dining room the evening he left for boot camp. Okay I guess in many ways even those not in the Armed Forces sacrificed in some form or another.

My dad was super active as a veteran of the US Army. He would call me as he participated in the parades being held in Waikīkī on this day. He would don his hat and white shirt and proudly announce his involvement as an enlisted soldier.

So today I honor all the pūʻali koa who serve our country, who so willingly sacrifice everything to deploy for reasons that go beyond my understanding. And for those who lost their lives while serving as a pūʻali koa. Mahalo nui. Special shout out to my ʻohana — and there are many — who served and continue to serve.

Shermaih K. Iaea, Jr., US Army

Shermaih K. Iaea, Jr., US Army

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