Hawaiians pay tribute to Parkland victims with 3-mile lei

PARKLAND, FLA. (WSVN) - Twelve Hawaiian residents flew to South Florida to pay their respects to the victims of the Parkland school shooting, and they brought a large, unique gift with them.

7News cameras captured the visitors walking around in a circle as they presented a massive lei in a ceremony at Pine Trails Park in Parkland, just after 6 p.m., Monday.

The Lei of Aloha has since been divided in two portions, each measuring roughly a mile and a half in length. Taken together, they weigh about 1,000 pounds.

The Hawaiians laid one half of the lei at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. At Pine Trails Parks, they broke the second half into several portions and presented them at every single cross and Star of David at a memorial set up at the park, each representing a victim of the Feb. 14 massacre.

The lei, made entirely of leaves, took hundreds of people three days to create.

The Hawaii residents said this show of support was the least they could do. “This is a time where we all get together and help make the change,” said Ron Panzo.

Panzo said the entire country needs to come together to show solidarity to the Parkland community. “It’s going to take all 50 states. Florida is on one side of the country, Hawaii is on the other. We’re hoping we can bridge that gap and bring everyone together,” he said. “If we could come from 48,000 miles away, there’s no reason why everybody else shouldn’t be here too, right now.”

This is not the first time these Hawaiians have traveled to Florida. They came after the September 2016 shooting at Pulse nightclub and performed a similar ceremony.

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