Charles D. Matera, Marine Corporal-NEW YORK
National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii
Prior to the opening of the cemetery for the recently deceased, the remains of soldiers from locations around the Pacific Theater—including Wake Island and Japanese POW camps—were transported to Hawaii for final interment.”
“In ancient times, the extinct volcanic Punchbowl Crater was known as Puowaina which means “Consecrated Hill” or “Hill of Sacrifice”. It was the site of many secret Ali’i (royal) burials and a place where offenders of certain Kapus (taboos) were sacrificed.
Today, the Hill of Sacrifice is the location of the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific where 33,230 [probably more as of today’s date] service men and women from four wars are buried.”
“More than five million visitors come to the cemetery each year to pay their respects to the dead and to enjoy the panoramic view from the Punchbowl. One of the most breathtaking views of the Island of Oahu can be found while standing at the highest point on the crater’s rim.”
A Dedicatory Stone, centered at the base of the stairway, is inscribed: “IN THESE GARDENS ARE RECORDED THE NAMES OF AMERICANS WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN SERVICE TO THEIR COUNTRY AND WHOSE EARTHLY RESTING PLACE IS KNOWN ONLY TO GOD.”