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Friday, June 10, 2016

KING KAMEHAMEHA DAY AND THE PAN-PACIFIC FESTIVAL

I find it difficult to believe this, but, apparently, mosquitos have killed half of humans that ever lived.  While there are questions whether this is true or not, no doubt there are various insects, such as cockroaches, for example, that probably don't positively affect the life cycle of humans, and might well someday only be found in zoos, or insectaria.  Such is the potential influence of what "gene drive" can do as a biotech tool.  While I indicated I would today report on this new development, let me delay one more day and instead post on two celebrations occurring this weekend in Honolulu.

There will be parades and hoolauleas (Hawaiian celebration) in Hawaii over the next couple of days.  Let me start with the 100th King Kamehameha (the First) Day, which always occurs on June 11--and only because King Kamehameha V picked that date in 1872--but as the eleventh occurs on a Saturday, today, June 10, is a State Holiday in Hawaii.  We are the only state honoring royalty in the USA,  as we also have Prince Kuhio Day on March 4.  States have their right in these matters, as Wisconsin gives days off for Mildred Fish Harnack Day (September 16, a native-born--Milwaukee--American to be killed by the Gestapo),  Robert La Follett Senior Day (June 14, honoring the late U.S. Senator and 1924 presidential candidate) and Casimir Pulaski Day ( May 4 for a Polish general who saved George Washington's life).  Small aside, but I found Pulaski to be fascinating:
  • Born in Poland and was a military commander fighting for freedom in  his country, although had a reputation of being a poor officer and loose canon.
  • Convicted of attempted regicide (killing royalty), for which he couldn't return home, so, on the recommendation of Lafayette and Ben Franklin, became a volunteer with George Washington's army, and later named a Brigadier General, although his lack of English-speaking skills hurt this leadership ability.
  • Father of American Cavalry.
  • First Polish immigrant of noteworthiness in the Revolutionary War.
  • One of his efforts probably saved the life of Washington.
  • Contracted malaria.
  • Hurt in battle and died at the age of 34.
  • Also a city holiday in Chicago and Buffalo in Pulaski's name and recognized in Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois (sort of), but not on May 4.
  • There is a 55 foot obelisk honoring Pulaski in Savannah, Georgia.
  • Not sure why school children are off for this day in Wisconsin, as he never went there.
  • In 2009 President Barack Obama signed a Congressional Resolution naming Pulaski an honorary American citizen.
I have in the past provided various bios of King Kamehameha I, so today, I'll only report on his statues, and there are six:
  • The original statue had origins in 1878 to commemorate the 100-year arrival of Captain Cook to Hawaii.  
  • A sum of $10,000 was allocated by State Legislature, today worth an equivalent of a quarter million dollars.
  • A Bostonian living in Florence, Italy, Thomas Gould, was provided these funds, accompanied by photographs of Polynesians, to create the statue.
  • Unfortunately, Gould was then studying Roman sculpture and gave Kamehameha the classical Roman face with gesturing hand, spear and cape, now located in Kapaau, North Kohala, near where he was born.
  • Unfortunately, the above statue was lost in a shipwreck near the Falkland Islands, so, for $12,000, a second one was made and placed at that popular tourist spot in Honolulu across from Iolani Palace in 1883 (right).  Both stood 18 feet tall.
  • A third statue, a replica of the first two, was unveiled in 1969 in the U.S. Capitol alongside Father Damien, but in 2008 moved by President Barack Obama to a prominent position in Emancipation Hall in the new visitor center.  The justification supposedly was that this statue was too heavy to sit where it stood, for at one time, at 15,000 pounds, it was the heaviest statue in the Capitol
  • A fourth statue, 14 feet tall, was built in Italy in 1963 and erected with a view of Hilo Bay in 1997.  This one cost $125,000, and was paid for by Princeville Corporation for the island of Kauai.  However, and we have a way of doing this, the people of Kauai felt they were NOT conquered by Kamehameha, so refused to approve it for exhibit.  
  • Maui has a 9.5 foot statue created by Herb Kane for the Grand Wailea Resort.  This one is said to be the most lifelike representation of the warrior king:
  • Only so fitting, but the sixth statue, 17 feet tall, can be found at the Hawaiian Marketplace in Las Vegas along the Strip:

Okay, the activities (free):
In parallel, Honolulu will be celebrating a Pan-Pacific Festival (everything is free, except, of course, not the food and drinks):
If you have Oceanic, channel 1012 will cover the Saturday parade through Waikiki beginning at 9AM.  Otherwise, join the festivities.  If you are not in Hawaii this weekend, come next year.

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