Brooks Onishi posted a video of an impromptu in-flight hula and song on her Hawaiian Airlines flight from Honolulu to San Diego. Onboard was a very special passenger, Ray Richmond, a 97-year-old Pearl Harbor survivor who was on the USS Oklahoma when it was attacked. He’s the second-oldest living Pearl Harbor survivor.
According to the Honolulu Star: Lehua Beltrame-Tevaga, a flight attendant and the reigning Mrs. Hawaii America, noticed that the family seemed a little upset, so during takeoff she and some crewmembers brainstormed a way to cheer them up. She asked a well-known Hawaii group, Makaha Sons, who just happened to be on the flight, if they wouldn’t mind singing for Richmond, and they agreed.
“With an hour left in the flight, they went to the row where Richmond was sitting with his family. The lead flight attendant announced that Richmond was a Pearl Harbor veteran. Beltrame-Tevaga took a lei from around her neck and placed it on Richmond. Mark Yim of the group played the guitar while Jerome Koko and Kimo Artis sang ‘Papalina Lahilahi.’ Beltrame-Tevaga danced hula next to Richmond’s seat.
Richmond thanked the performers and Beltrame-Tevaga said he told her ‘it was the best part of his whole trip.’”