“This Hawaii Statehood Day marks more than half a century since Hawaii became the 50th State. This is a day to commemorate what makes our islands so special and reflect on what the future may bring.
“Many of us remember Hawaii’s transition in 1959 from a territory to a state. Whether we felt joy, sadness, anxiety, or excitement, we all understood a new chapter in Hawaii’s history was about to unfold. I’ll certainly always remember this, as that was the same year I became a naturalized U.S. citizen, after my mother brought me from Japan four years earlier. While my family’s life was hard in those early years, the spirit of aloha helped us through.
“The Native Hawaiian culture and diverse population bring a richness to the United States and the world. Although we all may have differing feelings on statehood, let’s celebrate what unites us — our love for Hawaii and our desire to make our islands a better place.”