Ewa Battlefield hosts memorable ceremony
It was a humble tribute on a forgotten marine airfield.
Roses dressed up the crumbling base of a flag pole.
There was lots of fanfare at his barren strip this morning.
More than its seen in decades.
Last week, the Interior Department put the Ewa Battlefield on the National Register of Historic Places.
A handful of casualties are but part of the story behind the Ewa Battlefield.
The site is now elevated after nearly a decade of tenacious digging by some of its current day residents.
Ewa Field was a target of Japanese zeros bullets strafed the concrete where military planes lined up on Dec 7 1941.
It was one of the first targets on Oahu as part of Japan's strategy to cripple the US fleet.
Vintage air craft and military vehicles dressed up the area now surrounded by scrub trees in the middle of nowhere.
So well hidden even some attendees got lost on the way here.
"I had a hard time finding this place," said resident Elayne Funakoshi.
This was a small gathering for those in the community who were bursting with pride at the newly bestowed historic honor as an important American battlefield.
Over the weekend while pouring over the decision of the Keeper of the Register, Ewa field supporters were buoyed by what they interpret to be a significant line that opens the doors to other historic designations in the Ewa plains.
"We believe the field is only one eligible component of a potential larger district whose boundaries and contributing resources have yet to be fully defined," said resident Valerie Van Der Veer, as she read from the decision.
"The very obvious one would be Fort Barrette, Pu'uo'o Kapolei and Ewa Villages, a lot of the villagers were killed in the attack and then there was the larger air battle that happened over what is today Oneula," said Ewa resident John Bond.
More than 500 acres Navy land is being leased by Hunt Development
The Ewa Battlefield designation covers about 180 acres.
There is no federal money that's attached to the honor and those who worked to preserve this bit of history think it could be a magnet for this area.
"It's not about development versus no development, it's about community and somehow by golly, we are going to work together because there is a military story to be told and the Hawaiian story that comes before it," said Van Der Veer.
Those with ties to the area and its history were prideful on this Memorial Day even on a nearly forgotten field
One veteran who was stationed here has high hopes for the future.
"Nice to see it saved, and I hope we can cut down the scrub and properly landscape and groomed," said Thomas Schmidt.
“There was a war and people died for our country and they have to remember that freedom is not cheap," said Funakoshi.
Monday’s ceremony wasn't the first held here, but those who support the Ewa battlefield believe with this designation this is really the beginning.