WAILUKU Keith "Maxie" Bolor can't forget the day his twin brother died in Iraq more than five years ago.
"To this day, it seems like yesterday," Bolor said. "It's painful. For me, life will never be the same."
But Bolor, 43, looks forward to Maui County's March 13 "Day of the Fallen Maui Warriors" event at the War Memorial Gymnasium. The program begins at 12:30 p.m. and will feature veterans uncovering plaques honoring Bolor's brother and three other Maui men who died in Iraq.
The Maui men being honored are:
* Sgt. 1st Class Kelly Bolor, 37, a Lahainaluna High School graduate, killed in a helicopter crash on Nov. 15, 2003.
* Spc. Jay Cajimat, 20, a Lahainaluna High graduate, died in a roadside bombing on April 6, 2007.
* Pvt. Eugene Kanakaole, 19, a Maui High School graduate, killed in a noncombat-related incident on June 11, 2008.
* Spc. Christopher Sweet, 28, a Maui High graduate, died from injuries in a noncombat-related incident on Feb. 6.
"These are the people who have had to give up their lives for the country, for us to be free," said Vietnam veteran Paul Laub, a program coordinator for the unveiling event.
Bolor said he shares a painful kinship with family members of other troops who died in Iraq.
"I see them, and I know what they're going through. I think Kelly would have wanted me to be there for them," he said.
Bolor's widow, Kelly Jean, and their son, Kyle, now 9, are traveling to Maui from the Mainland to attend the special event. Maxie Bolor said his brother always wanted to be present for his son, especially because the twins did not have their dad around when they were growing up in Lahaina.
"He can't be here physically, but at least his son can see what his dad was about," Bolor said.
The Fallen Maui Warriors event is also special to Jack Eades, a foster father to Kanakaole, a 2007 Maui High graduate. Eades and his wife, Herlinda, had legal guardianship of Kanakaole while he was finishing his high school career.
"He was just a great kid," Eades said of Kanakaole. The youngster was placed in foster care when he was 3 years old and had been in several homes before finding refuge with Eades and his wife. They were living at the time in Kihei and had Kanakaole transfer from King Kekaulike High School to Maui High School, which includes Kihei students in its enrollment area.
"He was a young man who had been dealt a bad deck of cards," Eades said. "He wanted to make the most of his life, and he was heading in the right direction before this thing happened to him. It's very sad, and it's tough for us."
Eades, now a Pukalani resident, said that he and his wife are happy to see their foster son and others being recognized for their sacrifices. "This is a good thing. I think it'll help," he said.
Laub agrees that special recognition should be given to troops who have perished in war.
"The reason we get to live here in the land of the free, home of the brave, is because of the brave," Laub said. "It's important we recognize them."
The March 13 ceremony is free and open to the public. The event also will feature a Hawaiian oli and pule by Maui County Council Member Sol Kaho'ohalahala, songs by local singers Danny Kanahele and Makalapua Kanuha, a speech by Council Chairman Danny Mateo, the presentation of Hawaii flags, a display by the Baldwin High School Junior Color Guard and ROTC Drill Team, and a 21-gun salute from the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
* Claudine San Nicolas can be reached at email@example.com.