Kumu Crew Honoring Lacy Veach '62

April 6, 2016

In from Kaniela Lyman-Mersereau '05

Trying our best to shake off the flight delirium, we wake early and make our way to Hokule'a to honor the late Colonel Lacy Veach, a Punahou alumnus from the Class of 1962, and his family today. My thoughts drift into space as inspiring words flow from Nainoa Thompson, Robert Cabana, director of Kennedy Space Center and former astronaut, and members of the Veach 'ohana. Stories of voyaging and riding rockets into space become intertwined as the stories consistently find similarities in these two great endeavors of mankind: wayfinding through space to parts unknown or to islands unknown is a phenomenal thing.

So I stand awkwardly with cameras hovering over us as the crew shares their mele between each speech. I am holding a photo of Punahou's star compass mosaic standing beside Starr who has the photo Lacy took from space of the Hawaiian Islands with the adze stone in the foreground. These photos are among the many gifts for the Veach family. I have never felt so small standing side-by-side with fellow sailors and astronauts who have pushed the limits of sea and space travel. Truly humbled staring at a windswept, choppy, brown lagoon.

Fast forward to the Kennedy Space Center: I spent all day standing in awe of each massive structure and each historic story of success and failure. Amazing examples of human desire, engineering and ingenuity. Not a place I ever saw myself visiting let alone with Hokule'a, but here we are trying our best to learn what this program can do and has done for island earth. Here we are seeking answers, truth and hope. I walked away feeling optimistic for good things to come. The physics and mechanics blew my mind but the space travel still felt similar to voyaging. Hokule'a and the many ships before her go around the world just like the space shuttles.