click on image to read the letter from Gov. Cayetano

Today – the third Friday in the month of August – is statehood day in Hawaii.

President Dwight Eisenhower made statehood official in 1959 when he signed a signed a proclamation.

But other than state and county workers having the day off, neither the city, nor the state administration, does nothing to acknowledge the holiday.

A number of years ago when Ben Cayetano was governor, he cancelled statehood celebrations because he said they were too controversial.

Gov. Linda Lingle agreed and during her 8 year term, refused to have any statehood celebrations, and Gov. Neil Abercrombie has done the same.

Lingle did organize a government conference on the state’s 50th anniversary of becoming a state.

The attitude toward statehood day or admissions day is a big change from 1959, when more than 90 percent of the public turned out to support of Hawaii becoming a state. People who were there recall there was dancing in the streets, Hawaiian shows and fireworks at Iolani Palace.

Sovereignty activists who want Hawaii to leave statehood behind and become a sovereign nation have put a stop to all those celebrations.

In 2006, State Senator Sam Slom, R-Hawaii Kai, organized a statehood celebration with about 150 people in attendance including the band from Kalani High School. They met at `Iolani Palace to celebrate the anniversary of Statehood at the place where statehood was declared.

But a group of activists were waiting and to threatened the safety of the people attending. The parents of the Kalani High School student band members were told the children would be harmed if they even played one note. The band packed up and left, and the activists shouted at the attendees who planned just a short ceremony.

Since that incident and others like it, despite the fact that many people in Hawaii are proud Hawaii is a state, and enjoy the benefits, there have been no either private or public statehood celebrations with the exception of the 50th anniversary, which was largely centered around a government conference at the convention center.

 

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