President Obama marked the first day of 2012 with a mix of solemnity and relaxation, paying tribute to his family and later enjoying an afternoon at the beach.
The Obamas spent Sunday morning visiting the grave of his grandfather at Punchbowl National Cemetery. Stanley Dunham served in World War II and was instrumental in raising Obama, as chronicled in the President’s memoir, “Dreams From My Father.” Dunham died in 1992.
The first family then headed to the East-West Center in Manoa, which is showing an exhibit of the anthropological work of his mother, Ann Dunham. The exhibit, titled “Through Her Eyes: Ann Dunham’s Field Work in Indonesia,” includes photographs from her field research in Indonesia in the 1970s, along with her personal artifacts collected at the time.
As the first family left the building, the president waved at the press pool, wishing them a Happy New Year. The Obamas were soon out of sight, spending the rest of the afternoon on Pyramid Rock Beach at the Kaneohe Marine Base.
Later in the evening, the president and first lady left for a dinner with friends at Nobu in Waikiki. No word on what the group ate but the upscale restaurant of famed chef Nobu Matsuhisa offers specialties such as lobster ceviche and steamed clams with pancetta and kale in miso dashi broth.
The Obamas are expected to return to Washington today.