Flying high

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KAWAIHAE — Pride soared along with the Hawaiian flag at a celebration Friday morning at Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic Site. The ceremony, celebrating the 200th anniversary of the creation of the Hawaiian flag, was attended by more than 100 people, including the Royal Order of Kamehameha I Moku o Kohala, who hung a second flag in honor of its 150th anniversary.

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KAWAIHAE — Pride soared along with the Hawaiian flag at a celebration Friday morning at Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic Site. The ceremony, celebrating the 200th anniversary of the creation of the Hawaiian flag, was attended by more than 100 people, including the Royal Order of Kamehameha I Moku o Kohala, who hung a second flag in honor of its 150th anniversary.

The event commenced with words from Ernest Davis Young, Pu’ukohola’s former interpretation ranger, who led the annual ceremony for 20 years before retiring 10 years ago. He shared a history lesson on the flag’s origin and development, before raising it inside the visitor center with National Park Service rangers.

Patrick Ka’ano’i, a Hawaiian flag historian and member of The North American Vexillological Association, was the event’s guest speaker. He led a presentation on the creation of the Hawaiian flag by King Kamehameha I in 1816 — the only U.S. state flag to feature the Union Jack of the United Kingdom, a remnant of the British Empire’s influence on Hawaiian history.

“This is a very special day,” Ka’ano’i said. “Presently, there are only three locations where the Hawaiian flag may fly alone as a living symbol of the Hawaiian people: at Mauna Ala Royal Mausoleum in Honolulu, at Iolani Palace and at here at Pu’ukohola Heiau on the Big Island of Hawaii.”

The Hawaiian flag is composed of eight horizontal stripes, symbolizing the eight major islands.

“The flag originally varied from seven to eight or nine stripes,” Ka’ano’i said.

The particular flag raised at Pu’ukohola, according to Ka’ano’i, was dedicated in a ceremony within the royal crypt of King Kalakaua and Queen Liliuokalani in 1988, then hand-carried to Pu’ukohola to be dedicated upon this very temple of Kamehameha.

Born and raised on the Big Island, Ka’ano’i is the author of the Amended Hawaii Revised Statutes regarding the codification of the Hawaiian Flag. He also wrote “The Need for Hawaii: A Guide to Hawaiian Cultural and Kahuna Values” and “Kamalamalama — the Light of Knowledge.”

Royal Order of Kamehameha I Moku o Kohala members Alii Sir Ron Dela Cruz, Maulili Dickson, Maha Kaneali’i, “Ski” Kwiatkowski and George Roldan proceeded to lead a second flag ceremony outside the building.

“The Royal Order of Kamehameha I celebrated its 150th year in 2015 until April 11 of this year,” Dela Cruz said. “For this occasion, each chapter was given a Hawaiian flag. I represent Moku o Kohala. Our flag had not been risen yet in any place. At about 3 o’clock this morning, I had a dream that it should fly here for the first time.”

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He then began the ceremony with a prayer, and raised the flag outside the building assisted by Chief Interpretation Ranger Ben Saldua. A performance of the Hawaiian Kingdom’s national anthem, “Hawai’i Pono’i,” followed, performed by Royal Order members, who also provided live entertainment at the event later that morning.

Ka’ano’i’s wife, Heinke, said, “A presentation like this gives you a sense of deep down respect. It is so much honor. It brings people together.”

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