There are even parades. Along with King Kamehameha Day, it is one of only two state holidays in the entire United States honoring royalty.
Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole (1871 to 1922) was heir to the throne for the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi. Although he had served time in prison for rebelling against the American-led Republic of Hawaiʻi, he eventually was elected ten times as Hawaiʻi's non-voting delegate to the US House of Representatives during the territorial period.
In Washington, in 1919 he proposed a bill for Hawaiʻ's statehood (which eventually came in 1959). He also gained passage of the Hawaiian Homes Act in 1921, creating the Hawaiian Homes Commission that set aside 810 square kilometers of land for Hawaiian homesteaders. It's an imperfect bill whose flaws many hope to remedy with the long-standing Akaka Bill (named for our eighty-seven-year-old* US Senator who is not running for re-election in November).
On a much more serious note, today also marks the second anniversary of North Korea sinking the ROKS Ch'ŏnan, killing forty-six people. Requiescant in pace.
* Hawaiʻi fun fact: Both of the state's US Senators were born in 1924. Senator Daniel Akaka is just four days younger than Senator Daniel Inouye, a Medal of Honor recipient from World War II who has represented Hawaiʻi in the US Congress since it achieved statehood nearly fifty-three years ago.
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