Thousands celebrate Hawaii's 50th anniversary of statehood - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Thousands celebrate Hawaii's 50th anniversary of statehood

Arshiel Calatrava Arshiel Calatrava
Danny Kaleikini Danny Kaleikini
Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle
Bryan Clay Bryan Clay
Senator Daniel Akaka Senator Daniel Akaka

By Leland Kim - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL)  -   The events inside the Hawaii Convention Center were much calmer than the demonstration outside by some native Hawaiian groups who want an independent Hawaii.

Politicians, dignitaries, military members and others, gathered to celebrate Hawaii's milestone.  The mood was happy and optimistic inside the convention center.  Thousands of people were celebrating, marking, what they call, a significant moment in American history.

"Oh, say can you see," 14-year-old Kalihi girl Arshiel Calatrava sang "The Star Spangled Banner."

It's part American ...

"Hawaiʻi ponoʻî, Nânâ i kou môʻî," Danny Kaleikini, Hawaii's Ambassador of Aloha, sang "Hawai'i Ponoʻî, the former national anthem of Hawaii.

... and part Hawaiian.

Hawaii's statehood celebrations blend the two key ingredients of our state's cultural makeup.

"We are regarded as a true island paradise where the unique hospitality of our people, abundant natural resources, diverse heritage and our host culture set us apart from anywhere else on earth," said Gov. Linda Lingle, R-Hawaii.

Despite being several thousand miles away from the continental U.S., Hawaii has made a significant mark in American history.

"In reality Hawaii has produced more than its fair share of influential people," said Bryan Clay, the 2008 Olympics decathlon champion.  "The list includes successful business people, academics, entertainers, athletes like you know, me, as well as the current President of the United States."

The historic election of Barack Obama has brought greater visibility to the Aloha State.  And the 50 years of being part of American politics means Hawaii has a louder voice in the international community.

"Because after 50 years, our state has become global," said Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii.  "We have opened up to the world and the world knows Hawaii better than it ever has before."

In June of 1959, news of Hawaii's statehood was splashed across the front page of the local paper.   As a state, Hawaii, especially Oahu, grew and caught up with the rest of the country.  It enjoyed a booming economy and became a gateway to and from Asia.

"People are beginning to recognize Hawaii has a potential, that Hawaii has as a special community and that the world needs to be that in the future," said Sen. Akaka.

As Hawaii continues to make its mark in the global community, many are optimistic our state can build on our previous success.

"These are steps that put us now in the threshold of making a difference to the rest of the world," said Sen. Akaka.

It's Hawaii's unique place in the Pacific, unique place in the world, that has many hopeful that the state can weather this current economic storm, and become stronger in the next 50 years.

Powered by Frankly