On August 21, 1959, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a proclamation welcoming Hawaii as the 50th state of the union and ordered a new American flag featuring 50 stars. The new flag became official on July 4, 1960. Since 1969, Hawaii has commemorated this anniversary with a state holiday on the third Friday in August, which this year happens to fall on the 18th.
King Kamehameha the Great united the Hawaiian Islands into one kingdom in 1810. In 1893, a group of American expatriates and sugar planters supported by a division of U.S. Marines deposed Queen Lili’uokalani, the last reigning monarch. The Republic of Hawaii was established a year later as a U.S. protectorate with Sanford B. Dole as president. In 1898, congress approved annexation after declaring Hawaii necessary for the use of the naval base at Pearl Harbor during the Spanish-American War. During World War II, Oahu served as command post for US operations in the Pacific following the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 (the Day of Infamy).
Statehood bills for Hawaii were introduced into the U.S. Congress as early as 1919 by Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole, the longest serving non-voting delegate elected by the people during Hawaii’s territorial days and the only person that was born a royal. It took forty years and five failed attempts (1919, 1931, 1935, 1947, and 1950) before the U.S. Congress approved the statehood bill, the Hawaii Admission Act. On June 27, 1959 Hawaii residents voted 94% in support of statehood (the ballot question was “Shall Hawaii immediately be admitted into the Union as a state?”) and the rest is history.
Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele