Hawaiians and visitors will come together on July 31 to celebrate Hawaiian Flag Day, the islands’ original holiday.
Hawaiian Flag Day was first observed July 31, 1843. King Kamehameha III proclaimed the holiday to honor Great Britain’s decision to recognize the islands as the Kingdom of Hawaii, an independent nation. The British flag, the Union Jack, still appears in the upper left corner of Hawaii’s flag.
The holiday will be celebrated with simultaneous commemorations at five places operated by the National Park Service:
Haleakala National Park on Maui.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park on the Big Island.
Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park on the Big Island.
Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site, also on the Big Island. This site is home to King Kamehameha’s temple.
The activities get underway at 9 a.m. with demonstrations of the puohe (bamboo trumpet) at the four Big Island parks. At 10 a.m., all five sites will host guest speakers to discuss the rich history of La Hae Hawaii (Flag Day).
Hawaii remained independent until 1893, when a group led by sugar baron Sanford Dole overthrew Queen Liliuokalani while politicians in Washington looked the other way.
One hundred years later, the U.S. government formally apologized. In a joint resolution in 1993, Congress acknowledged the illegal seizure of Hawaii, describing it as “the suppression of the inherent sovereignty of the Native Hawaiian people.”
Hawaii became America’s 50th state in 1959.
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