Resorts hold Patriot Day ceremony
KAANAPALI — Hotel guests and workers at The Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas and The Westin Maui Resort & Spa on Sunday held a ceremony to observe Patriot Day, the tenth anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001.
At The Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas, Anthony Natividad performed a morning Hawaiian blessing ceremony, followed by a proclamation acknowledging the event presented by Zeke Kalua, executive assistant (West Maui) representing Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa.
Also present were State Sen. Roz Baker, State Rep. Angus McKelvey and officers representing the Maui Fire and Police departments.
Resort General Manager Angela Nolan invited all present to observe a moment of silence to remember and honor 9/11 victims.
“I would also like to thank our active and retired military personnel and their families, including Maui’s own first responders, for their heroism and sacrifices to help protect our country,” added Nolan.
Led by resort Activities Manager Makalapua Kanuha, guests joined the resort’s associates and paddlers to head out to the ocean fronting the resort in five outrigger canoes to perform a traditional flower scattering ceremony.
Bowls filled with 2,977 blossoms — representing the number of persons who lost their lives on that fateful day in 2001 — were handed around for guests on the beach and in the canoes to be part of the ceremony.
As Lahainaluna High School senior Gavin Maffat performed “Taps,” guests sprinkled the flower blossoms onto the ocean, followed by the raising of the canoe paddles high toward the sky in honor of the fallen heroes.
The ceremony ended with a nose flute performance of “Amazing Grace” by Anthony.
At The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, chief chanter Dwayne Cobetake of Tahu Productions performed a simple yet heart-touching blessing ceremony, followed by prayers at the resort’s Colonnade Café area.
Attended by resort guests and associates, the ceremony concluded with the sprinkling of ten fresh orchid lei (to represent each year) onto the ocean fronting the resort on Kaanapali Beach.
Guests were also invited to take a pinch of Hawaiian salt distributed at the ceremony and throw into the ocean as part of the cultural tradition.
Though on vacation, guests appreciated being part of the special ceremony and formed personal connections as they shared their experiences.