LAS VEGAS (AP) — A group of Hawaiians who now make their homes in Las Vegas on Saturday joined others who still live in the islands to bring the city’s people a special lei (LAY) braided with leaves from a sacred plant in a gesture they hope will bring peace and healing after the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
The largest of the three ceremonies took place outside the iconic “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign. Several women in the group wept openly as they stood silently in a row, holding the long, whip-like lei of ti leaves draped on their right shoulders. The lei made by hundreds of volunteers did not include flowers, just the leaves.
Ron Panzo, one of the lead organizers from Kihei on the island of Maui, said the group had also delivered similar leis to Paris and Orlando, Florida, after shootings in those cities.
“There can be a small closure after we bring a lei like this,” said Panzo, a restaurant owner. “This is a way to honor those lives that were lost, to make sure they are not forgotten.”
Kawika Sabado, who also is from Kihei, said Hawaiians are naturally empathetic and believe all people must strive to retain their connection to human kind.
“Hawaiians feel very strongly when something like this happens,” said Sabado, who wore a kind of white loincloth and…