”’Honolulu Mayor Hannemann gave his third state of the city address on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2007 at Honolulu Hale.”’
Aloha and good morning, Chair Marshall … members of the Honolulu City Council … distinguished guests … ladies and gentlemen.
This past year, the City and County of Honolulu observed the 100th anniversary of its founding. We celebrated this milestone with fanfare befitting a century of achievement, with due respect for those who championed our progress and prosperity, and with deep appreciation for the legacy we inherited from those who devoted themselves to the greater good during the past 100 years.
As we enter our second century, let us be mindful of our island legacy and what inspired our forebears. We can’t know for sure what brought the earliest Polynesian voyagers to these shores. Anthropologists theorize that those brave souls may have been influenced by a culture of discovery. Surely, they were selected for the journey because of their courage and skill, and driven by a desire to serve their people.
The immigrants who followed, to work from dawn to dusk in the plantations, were seeking better lives, if not for themselves, then at least for their children. The gallant soldiers who returned home after the terrible battles of World War II vowed that they would bring equality and justice to all citizens. And those who worked for the cause of statehood, and who then built modern Hawaii, were emboldened by the idea of bringing opportunity to those for whom it had long been denied. These are the men and women who built modern Hawaii and our home, our Honolulu.
I learned a long time ago while growing up in Kalihi, as the second youngest in a working-class immigrant family, that we had to share and sacrifice, to contribute, to help our parents, our brothers and sisters, our friends and neighbors. My upbringing by my parents, Gustav and Faiaso Hannemann, gave me lessons I have never forgotten, lessons that have guided me throughout my life and led me to public service.
The history of Hawaii, if not our nation, and the experiences of my formative years, which are much like yours, have told me that there are more noble goals in life than personal enrichment, that the bigger house or the shinier car do not matter as much as how we contribute to our community. The men and women who shaped Hawaii, who made the lasting contributions, pledged themselves to work for the greater good. They cooperated in the spirit of aloha to build bridges. They came not to make a quick killing and move on, but to make these islands their home.
They left this a better place than they found it. I imparted this principle with my hard-working City co-leaders