State Capitol ready for Sen. Inouye's farewell

State Capitol ready for Sen. Inouye's farewell

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii Stage and Lighting started at Nine o'clock sharp, piecing together the main stage and other platforms for Senator Inouye's lying in state ceremony.

"We're also doing some press media platforms where the press will be standing on to film the event and it looks like now we'll be doing some carpeting for the procession of the casket," said Louis Leal of Hawaii Stage and Lighting.

The State is in charge of transforming the Capitol rotunda into a solemn setting, where people can come to pay their respects.

"We really have no idea honestly how many people are going to be coming, but we are expecting that there will be thousands," State Protocol Officer Deidre Tegarden said.

Three hundred chairs will be set up, plus a 40-foot-by-40-foot tent to cover the casket site.

"I think you're being part of history, personally. We do a lot of events.  To me they're all important but something like this is special," Leal said.

"Everybody understands the urgency.  Everyone understands the importance of this event," Tegarden said.

Foreign dignitaries who will attend are former Japan Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and American Samoa Governor Togiola Tulafono.

The formal program will be heavily local.

"We have House Speaker Calvin Say, Senate President Shan Tsutsui, Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald, and Governor Neil Abercrombie," Tegarden said.

Senator Inouye's casket will sit in the middle of the rotunda.  A carpet will extend from the Capitol steps to the viewing area.

"It's actually going to be close to 200 feet by 6 feet wide, a red carpet that we're laying down," Leal said.

The State has had only three days to pull this all together.

"Everybody's been literally working around the clock from 6 o'clock in the morning until midnight," Tegarden said.  "People are sending emails around at 2 o'clock in the morning."

Tegarden said if it is windy or rainy, the ceremony could be moved into the Senate Chamber.

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