Photo courtesy of Greg Smith and Northern State University.
On December 7, 2016, it will have been 75 years since the bombing of Pearl Harbor. It was a truly devastating event and turning point in American history, one that should not be forgotten. With this sentiment, every year since 1998 the beachfront neighborhood of Waikiki has held the Holiday Parade, which honors the survivors as well as the memory of those who fell in the attacks. The procession also strives to preserve Polynesian culture and serves as a way to teach others about it. The Waikiki Holiday Parade is always held on the Friday after Thanksgiving, and its course trails from Fort DeRussy Park to Queen Kapiolani Park with the famous sandy Waikiki beach as a beautiful setting for the week’s festivities. The total parade route is about one and a half miles long through Waikiki’s main street. Each time it has been held in the past, the parade has included a gathering of bands. It includes distinguished marching bands from all over the continental United States as well as bands from local schools along with local officials, performers, military units, and survivors of the Pearl Harbor attacks. This year, Northern State University’s Marching Wolves are honored to be participating in the Waikiki Holiday Parade.
The founder of the Waikiki Holiday Parade, Jake Peppers, reached out to the Marching Wolves. Northern’s band also marched in this parade in 2006, honoring the 65th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The event coordinators are always looking for the most elite bands for the Holiday Parade. According to Northern’s Director of Bands, Dr. Boyd Perkins, “They reached out to the bands from the 2013 Presidential inauguration parade.” Several of the invited bands performed at the inauguration. Peppers stated that NSU’s band was a priority on the list for this year’s event, especially because they are well-known for their impressive playing and their traveling, having been in two inaugural parades as well as the 2006 Waikiki Holiday Parade. Dr. Perkins estimates that around 60 of Northern’s marching band members will be able to attend this event, although this figure is only a loose approximation at this time because the final number will also include the incoming freshman band members of fall 2016. Incoming freshman have the choice of registering for the event now or when they attend Northern in the fall. The Northern Highlights dance team will also be included in the parade, as well as the color guard. Also welcome on this extraordinary trip are friends, family members, and alumni. Throughout this year and up to the time of the event, the Marching Wolves are doing extensive fundraising in order to make the trip more financially manageable. The participants are excited to travel to beautiful Hawaii for this event. The Wolve’s trip will also include a visit to the Polynesian Cultural Center, as well as Pearl Harbor tours, and the honor of presenting a wreath at the USS Arizona Memorial. This outing will be a great chance for the Marching Wolves to show their respect for our military and every person who was affected by the attacks on Pearl Harbor. This spectacular parade draws thousands of local and international viewers. The opportunity to be involved in this event will live long in the memory of those participating in the parade.