The Season Of Beautiful Lights

Larry Price
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Wednesday - December 07, 2011
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Hawaii produces a lot of great spectacles during the holidays.

Many of them are thanks to the unselfish efforts of residents who go through hours of tedious decorating so their homes will send the message of Christmas cheer.

These islanders decorate their homes and yards with an array of lights that can be seen for miles.

They are, to say the least, heartwarming.

It makes you wonder what their motivation is and why it’s important to them year after year. I guess it could be a family tradition.

One thing is for sure, it’s a nice gesture, especially since there is no snow to signal that the Christmas season is upon us.

It must make political sense, since the officials at Honolulu Hale put up a giant tree donated by a Honolulu resident and cover it with lights and other ornaments, and wrap it all in a Honolulu festival with music and tours of the grounds.

Residents and visitors alike come from far and wide to take pictures and get in the mood. One of the reasons the city does it is because it improves its public image.

It’s nice to see how the private businesses decorate their office buildings all along King Street, past Iolani Palace to the Fasi Municipal Building. The crowds that show up are proof positive it has the desired effect on the public.

Probably the least appreciated display during the Christmas season is the illuminated Christmas tree that goes up every year on the face of Tripler Army Medical Center. It is massive and can be seen for miles in every direction.

Tripler is the headquarters of the Pacific Regional Medical Command of the armed forces administered by the U.S. Army. It is the largest military hospital in the Asian and Pacific Rim region, serving a military sphere of jurisdiction that spans more than half of the Earth’s surface.

It’s located on the slopes of Moanalua Ridge above Salt Lake. You can’t miss it because it is coral pink.

There is little question it is a very special place in Hawaii.

A local landscape architect designed the grounds to work in concert with the medical center to create a “place of solace” for U.S. soldiers to recuperate both emotionally and physically.

Tripler was officially dedicated Sept. 10, 1948, and has more than 1,000 hospital beds. It is a huge, important facility right here in Hawaii and pretty much goes unnoticed. Yet it is a city unto itself, performing lifesaving procedures every day. The Christmas tree is a symbol of Tripler’s aloha for our servicemen and women and the community.

When APEC was in town, I was disappointed that the president didn’t take a moment to stop by Tripler to say hello to some of the patients. It would have been a proud moment for staff and management. Hopefully he can squeeze it in on his next visit.

So as you enjoy the season and are driving on the freeway past Tripler, blow them a kiss for taking such good care of our military.

And by all means enjoy the Christmas tree. It really is beautiful.

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