Welcome to Honolulu! Airport name change honoring Sen. Inouye becomes official

Updated: May. 30, 2017 at 7:56 PM HST
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(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

By Pono Suganuma
HNN Summer Intern

HONOLULU (Hawaii News Now) -- The Honolulu International Airport is now officially known as the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport.

A ceremony to re-name the airport after one of Hawaii's most well-known politicians was held Tuesday.

Dignitaries from all levels of government were at the ceremony, which featured a traditional Hawaiian blessing.

Hosted by the state Department of Transportation, the ceremony marked a special day for the Inouye family. The son of the late senator, Ken Inouye, said the ceremony felt surreal.

"People here do remember the hard work he put in and the sense of aloha he had for the people of the state of Hawaii," Inouye said,

The late senator's wife said he would have been proud knowing such an important place now bears his name.

"It was a place that connected him to home and connected him to the rest of the world," Irene Hirano Inouye said. "The naming would be a very special one for him I'm sure."

Inouye, who died in 2012, was the second longest-serving U.S. senator in history.

Signs bearing the airport's new name were installed in early May.

Before it was called the Honolulu International Airport, the facility was called the John Rodgers Airport, after a military commander and aviation pioneer. (That's now the official name of Kalaeloa Airport.)

An exhibit in the Honolulu aiport's overseas terminal of the airport will showcase the life and career of the late senator through photographs and memorabilia.

"I hope that his name and the airport will be an important legacy, and will remind us of the work that he did," Irene Hirano Inouye said. "But most importantly, would remind us of the importance of Hawaii for the future."

Each year, an estimated 20 million travelers pass through the airport.

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