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Hokule'a honors Hawaii's late astronauts - Honolulu, Hawaii news, sports & weather - KITV Channel 4

Hokule'a honors Hawaii's late astronauts

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -

The crew of the voyaging canoe Hokule'a welcomed aboard some extra special guests Wednesday in a ceremony that celebrated the spirit of Hawaii explorers.

It was a special ceremony as crewmembers of Hokule'a, Hawaii's navigators of the ocean, honored Hawaii's navigators of the stars 

While on its voyage thru Florida, Hokule'a was brought as close as possible to the Kennedy Space Center to honor Hawaii's late astronauts Ellison Onizuka and Charles Lacy Veach.

Punahou graduate Veach loved Hokule'a and celebrated its role in exploring the past. In 1992, he was the one who said the canoe should sail around the world telling them, ""This is what you can do. This is what's important to do. This is what is meaningful. This is your chance to make a contribution to things that are good."

On board for the ceremony, the Veach ohana, including his wife and daughter Maile and the grandsons he never met

"They just know he was an astronaut and everybody talks about how great that was. Today was even better because Nainoa [Thompson] knows a part of him that nobody does and they were able to see him as more than just my grandfather the astronaut and that was special for me," said Maile Chatlos, Lacy Veach's daughter.

The Veach and the Polynesian Voyaging Society ohana then went to visit Lacy's workplace -- the Kennedy Space Center.

The crew of the Hokule'a walking through the Kennedy Space Center following in the footsteps of Onizuka and Veach.

In 1992, Veach planted the seed for what is Hokule'a's voyage around the world.  On Wednesday, crewmembers toured the space center with the Veach ohana.

Seeing where they tested space suits, brother Mike Veach sat in the very chair that astronauts do.  And the humongous VAB, the vehicle assembly building, where the Space Shuttle was prepared for launch.

The tour also took us outside to Launch Pad 39A -- the site where one of Lacy Veach's missions took off.

For widow Alice Veach, this was perhaps the spot that touched her the most.

"I think probably the launch site. And the fact that after the Challenger they always took the families on top of the building so we were separated from our, yes, and other family members, but I remember that so well because my children, especially Maile.  I think I was very afraid because we all lived through the Challenger and so, yeah, when I see that that really brings back those memories of you know is this going to be okay," said Alice.

A chance to see Lacy Veach the astronaut and to better understand their shared love for reaching for the stars.

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