Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) today issued the following statement in celebration of Kamehameha Day:
"Kamehameha the Great's statue stands out at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center's Emancipation Hall. Standing 12 feet tall and weighing 12,000 pounds, this massive golden statue often stops visitors in their tracks. Some take photos; others ask aloud who he was to deserve such a prominent location in our nation's Capitol.
"In Hawaii, his contributions as a leader, warrior, and visionary are legendary. He established a united kingdom out of divided islands and ruled as its first monarch. Our islands have been known collectively as "Hawaii,' after his home island, ever since. As Hawaii opened up to the trade of new ideas and goods with Western nations, King Kamehameha protected the traditions and culture of his ancestors.
"While we celebrate Kamehameha Day during today's challenging economic times, we should look to Kamehameha I's example of courageous leadership through an era of great change for Hawaii. Hundreds of years after he ruled, Kamehameha I still offers inspiration to people in Hawaii and around the world. I am proud that his statue in Emancipation Hall will receive lei June 24, an honor befitting the great first king of Hawaii."