60 years of statehood

  • Statehood celebration at Honolulu Stadium Aug. 21, 1959. (Courtesy photo/Akinori Imai)

Account of Statehood day by Akinori Imai

We were in class on the balmy day on Aug. 21 in Bilger Hall when the professor’s lecture was interrupted. It was the announcement of President Eisenhower’s signing of the Hawaii Statehood Proclamation over the PA system. Everybody stood up with a resounding cheer of “Hoorah!” and hand clapping. As of that moment, all classes were canceled and students were granted leave of the campus.

With much anticipation of the signing and the grandiose event, Honolulu Stadium was readied for the glorious celebration. Living then at the Moilili Hongwanji’s Boys Dorm, a short five minute walk from the stadium, I was witness to the event with performing stages set at both ends of the stadium and National Guard Artillery’s 105 howitzers poised to join in the monumental event. It was a day of festivities and jubilation indeed, very much like the celebration of the war’s end in 1945.

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