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Authorizing Use of Emancipation Hall to Celebrate Birthday of King Kamehameha

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. GABBARD. Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Hawaii for yielding me the time.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of Senate Concurrent Resolution 10, which authorizes the use of Emancipation Hall in the Capitol Visitor Center for an event to celebrate the birthday of King Kamehameha.

On June 11 of every year, the State of Hawaii celebrates King Kamehameha Day. It's a beautiful State holiday, filled with parades and lei draping at the statues that exist in his honor. One of these statues stands proudly here in Washington, D.C., in the Capitol Visitor Center; and for the last 43 years, we have celebrated King Kamehameha's birthday in our Nation's capital.

Kamehameha I, sometimes called Kamehameha the Great, was a skilled and fierce warrior and an intelligent leader. He established his dynasty and reputation by uniting the eight major islands of the Hawaiian chain under his rule in 1910. By uniting the Hawaiian Islands into a viable and recognized political entity, Kamehameha helped protect his people during a time of great cultural change.

King Kamehameha I is known for his prowess in war, but he is also remembered for his humanity.

We honor King Kamehameha on his birthday, and we welcome visitors both to Hawaii and here to our Nation's Capitol, and appreciate the opportunity to tell a little bit about one of our great heroes.

His Ka 8nawa 8i Ma 8malahoe, or Law of the on in the Hawaii State Constitution and is a model for human rights policies on civilians and other non-combatants today. When attacked by fishermen trying to protect their land and family, rather than punishing them, King Kamehameha declared, ``Let every elderly person, woman and child lie by the roadside in safety.'' This decree lives on in Hawaii and is a living symbol of this ruler's concern for public safety.

After uniting the islands, Kamehameha also focused on governing his kingdom. He appointed governors for each island, made laws for the protection of all, built houses and irrigation ditches, managed natural resources such as sandalwood, and traded shrewdly with foreigners. Otto Von Kotzebue, a Russian explorer, said, ``The king is a man of great wisdom and tries to give his people anything he considers useful. He wishes to increase the happiness and not the wants of his people.''

I ask my colleagues for their support of Senate Concurrent Resolution 10 so that we can honor one of Hawaii's great leaders.

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