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The Somber Lights

Floating lanterns in Hawaii, a cathedral-like bridge in Oregon, and a lighthouse in California offer a moment of self-reflection.

Via Staff
floating lanterns at night at Ala Moana Beach Park in Honolulu, image
Photo caption
On Memorial Day, floating lanterns with handwritten messages honor the dead.

Honolulu's Floating Lanterns
Just before sunset on Memorial Day, about 40,000 people gather at Ala Moana Beach Park in Honolulu to release 3,000 glowing lanterns into the Pacific. The ceremony, conducted by a Buddhist leader but open to everyone, honors the dead with handwritten messages carried by the lanterns. “Within the shared experience of this calm, embracing crowd, you have a private moment of self-reflection,” says Roy Ho, executive director of the Na Lei Aloha Foundation, which sponsors the annual event. (808) 942-1848,

Portland's St. Johns Bridge
Of the 11 Willamette River bridges in Portland, St. Johns Bridge is the moodiest. At twilight, period lights add a haunting glow to its green Gothic towers.

Battery Point Lighthouse
Battery Point Lighthouse, near Crescent City, Calif., stood unharmed during the March 2011 tsunami and one on March 28, 1964, in which 11 people died. It is now a museum. (707) 464-3089,

Photography by Dwight K. Morita

This article was first published in May 2011. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.