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A Tribute to Our Silent Teachers: 2015 Willed Body Memorial Ceremony

Date: June 8th, 2015 in Community Outreach, Donors, Giving, JABSOM News, Student Life    Print or PDF

Pictured: MD students release lei and cremains into the ocean off Waikīkī

The enticing sounds of bagpipes consume the air. The music combined with the cooling ocean breeze unites the crowd with an honest sense of ʻOhana.

Families are gathered on the shore of Magic Island, their lei in hand as they wait for the scattering of the ashes ceremony to begin.

The Celtic Pipes and Drums of Hawaiʻi are bellowing a profound melody played for honor and memory.

Positioned in canoes, students from the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) begin rowing in sync. Aboard, are the ashes of our “silent teachers” – the Hawaiʻi residents who selflessly willed their bodies to the medical school and the longevity of its anatomical education.

Together, ashes and lei are released into the ocean. It is a day of appreciation and remembrance as we honor the 144 body donors at this year’s annual Willed Body Memorial Ceremony.

The service begins at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Campus Center Ballroom where families receive the ashes of their loved ones during a ceremony featuring performances and guest speakers. This year’s service includes a string septet musical performance, hula performance, and special words of thanks from student speakers.

Later that afternoon, family members meet at Magic Island for the ocean-scattering of the ashes ceremony. During this extraordinary moment, family members watch medical students release the ashes of those who wished to be liberated at sea.

JABSOM gratefully honors those who selflessly donate their bodies to medical education. These individuals are critically significant contributors to health and medical discoveries.

Below, get a glimpse of this year’s beautiful Willed Body Memorial Ceremony, through a slideshow of special moments captured by our medical students. We send special thanks to MD 2018 Candidate Gabriel Lapid for his photographic assistance.

Willed Body Memorial Ceremony 2015

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