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Observe statehood with more than a party

March 23, 2007
By

Legislation for a celebration of 50 years of statehood appears headed for approval.

 

IF NUMBERS have any significance, then an observance of the 50th anniversary of the 50th state’s admission to the nation is in order.

 

In recent years, Statehood Day hasn’t been given much attention, except as a day off for schools and local governments. The anniversary in 2009 presents an opportunity for Hawaii to take a look at the what statehood has brought to the islands.

 

A bill moving through the Legislature proposes a commission to plan and coordinate a “public celebration,” and provides funds for a commemoration.

 

A statewide party is a great idea, but the anniversary also could be an occasion to review the past half-century and to look forward to the next.

 

Hawaii gained statehood largely because of its location, providing the nation with a vital military outpost in the Pacific. Some dispute the idea that statehood has brought more advantages than drawbacks. While the Star-Bulletin was a longtime leader of the statehood movement, we believe the anniversary observation should include their perspectives, as well.

 

Sensitivity to Hawaiian issues should be considered. An event by a group of legislators and others last year drew protesters because it was held at Iolani Palace, the site symbolic of the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy and annexation of the islands by the United States.

 

The Lingle administration is requesting $250,000 for the observance, an amount that won’t go very far. Private groups and Hawaii’s educational institutions should be encouraged to organize events on their own.

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