Synopsis of Pan Am 2014 Aloha Celebration
by Don Cooper
November 2012 in Monaco, a reunion team member suggested that we do one last reunion in Honolulu, which would be a logical location. Since the China Clipper days, Honolulu has been a pivotal hub and focal point of Pan Am’s Pacific operation and many former employees have fond memories of their time spent there, especially during the Vietnam War era.
In January of 2013 hotel selection begun with numerous hotels being surveyed in Waikiki and concluding that the Hawaii Prince Hotel was by far the best choice for a Pan Am event of our magnitude. Once the hotel choice had been made, negotiations for room prices and room blocks had to be completed with best guess estimates on the number of potential attendees. Pan Am reunions by character and spirit are very special and must be tailored according to the broad perspective our company and employees embodied. Initially, the event planning is much like a crossword puzzle with many pieces that must be tailored to bring it to conclusion. Cocktail reception and banquet menus had to be planned along with a myriad of other details to be sorted out. Also, utilization of certain attendees such as: Betsey Pease Tryon, Merry Barton and Ed Dover, all who had personal stories of historical interest that should be shared with fellow attendees.
As the date of the Aloha Celebration event drew near and various members of the reunion team met with the hotel staff to discuss certain issues of the reunion, a hyped energy in the hotel staff started to show in their warmth and cooperation toward Pan Amers. A spirit of unique collaboration occurred between us and everyone rooting for success.
On the afternoon of opening day, the renowned Hawaiian Island musical trio “Paumana” serenaded registering attendees. That evening, every lady was greeted with a flower leu as they entered the ballroom. Pan Am ice sculptures decorated the back drop of the food tables and four roasted pigs in Hawaiian style were prepared and served making the reception very special. The hotel also catered the banquet at the Pacific Aviation Museum and greeted attendees as they arrived with a special creation drink called the blue coral, which was made special for Pan Am. Team member Cinda Belozer, with great aplomb, selected the menus for all events and the hotel catering staff also, with great aplomb, did the preparation. The concluding evening’s cocktail reception/banquet was held at the Pacific Aviation Museum with 467 attending from around the world.
Photos Courtesy of Robert Genna and Darlene Laster