Fly your flag August 21, for Hawaii Statehood 55 years ago


A newsboy happily hawks the Honolulu Star-Bulletin with the headline showing the state had achieved statehood, August 21, 1959.  Star-Bulletin photo

13-year-old paperboy Chester Kahapea happily hawks a commemorative edition of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin with the headline showing the state had achieved statehood after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the law authorizing Hawaii as a state. Star-Bulletin photo by Murray Befeler.

Hawaii’s official statehood day is August 21, commemorating the day in 1959 when Hawaii was recognized as a member of the union of the United States of America.  Hawaiians should fly their flags to day in honor of the date (you may, too).

Hawaii formally celebrates the day on the third Friday in August (last Friday, for 2013).  I hope you joined in the festivities (it’s a holiday in Hawaii) — but under the U.S. Flag Code, you may certainly fly your flags on August 21, regardless which day of the week that is.

Specimen copy of the ballot used by Hawaiians in a June 27, 1959, plebiscite to approve conditions of statehood.  Image from Hawaii Magazine, 2009

Specimen copy of the ballot used by Hawaiians in a June 27, 1959, plebiscite to approve conditions of statehood. Image from Hawaii Magazine, 2009

After the U.S. annexed Hawaii in 1898 (in action separate from the Spanish-American War) attempts at getting Hawaii admitted as a state got rolling.  After World War II, with the strategic importance of the islands firmly implanted in Americans’ minds, the project picked up some steam.  Still, it was 14 years after the end of the war that agreements were worked out between the people of Hawaii, the Hawaiian royal family, Congress and the executive branch.  The deal passed into law had to be ratified by a plebiscite among Hawaiian citizens.  The proposition won approval with 94% of votes in favor.

Some native Hawaiian opposition to statehood arose later, and deference to those complaints has muted statehood celebrations in the 21st century.

Other than the tiny handful of loudmouth birthers, most Americans today are happy to have Hawaii as a state, the fifth richest in the U.S. by personal income.  The nation has a lot of good and great beaches, but the idea of catching sun and surf in Hawaii on vacation might be considered an idealized part of the American dream.

U.S. and Hawaii flags flying together.

U.S. and Hawaii flags flying together.

More:

From Prologue, the blog of the National Archives: This petition, rolled onto a wooden spool, was signed by 116,000 supporters of Hawaii statehood and presented to the U.S. Senate on February 26, 1954. (RG 46, Records of the U.S. Senate)

From Prologue, the blog of the National Archives: This petition, rolled onto a wooden spool, was signed by 116,000 supporters of Hawaii statehood and presented to the U.S. Senate on February 26, 1954. (RG 46, Records of the U.S. Senate)

U.S. postage stamp issued in 2009 commemorating the 50th anniversary of Hawaii's admission to the union.

U.S. postage stamp issued in 2009 commemorating the 50th anniversary of Hawaii’s admission to the union.

Contrast the first class postage price above with the airmail postage price of this stamp issued in 1959 — August 21, 1959 7¢ Rose Hawaii Statehood C55 26432. Wikipedia image

Contrast the first class postage price above with the airmail postage price of this stamp issued in 1959 — August 21, 1959 7¢ Rose Hawaii Statehood stamp. Wikipedia image

This is an encore post.

This is an encore post.

6 Responses to Fly your flag August 21, for Hawaii Statehood 55 years ago

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    Chip, you may get a better view of my views on birthers, here.

    Like

  2. Ed Darrell says:

    As Cecil said: “Fighting ignorance since 1974. It’s taking longer than I thought.”

    It’s a bias toward accurate information, and against hoaxes. Check out the “about” sections of this blog, and watch for explanations about Millard Fillmore’s having put the first bathtub in the White House.

    Like

  3. Chip Thompson says:

    Why the not so subtle bias against the “birthers”.?

    Like

  4. Black Flag® says:

    Hawaii’s monarchy was limited by the 1887 Constitution of the Kingdom of Hawaii, which King David Kalakaua (1836–1891) signed under threat of force, and which was therefore often known as the Bayonet Constitution. It established a constitutional monarchy much like Britain’s, but also transferred power through a redefinition of the electoral franchise to an elite class of American, European, and native Hawaiian landowners.

    When Kalakaua died in 1891, his sister Lili’uokalani (1838–1917) succeeded him on the throne. Soon she made plans to restore the monarchy’s veto power and other features of the pre-1887 Constitution. A group of American and European residents, in opposition to the Queen, organized themselves and solicited protection from U.S. Marines and sailors, which U.S. Government Minister John Stevens provided. Queen Lili’uokalani was deposed on January 14, 1893, and a provisional government was formed.

    On February 1, Stevens proclaimed Hawaii a protectorate of the United States. On July 4, 1894, the Republic of Hawaii was founded and Sanford Dole became its President. A brief effort at the beginning of 1895 to restore the monarchy and Lili’uokalani to the throne was thwarted. Arrested and convicted for playing a part in the failed effort, Lili’uokalani was confined to house arrest in Iolani Palace, where she spent much of her time writing songs. She abdicated her throne eight months later, in return for the commutation of the sentence of her fellow conspirators. Later, she would write that her signature on the abdication agreement, which she signed “Lili’uokalani Domonis” (she had married Robert Domonis), invalidated it because, as a monarch, she had never acted under that name, but only “Lili’uokalani.”

    Seems they didn’t approve.

    Like

  5. Ed Darrell says:

    94% of Hawaiians approved the plebiscite. So did the Hawaiian royal family.

    Ask them.

    Like

  6. Black Flag® says:

    Oh cheer, huh?

    Stole the land from the natives under threat of death.

    Typically celebrated by Americans, as usual.

    Like

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