This year, 2009, marks the 50th anniversary of Hawaii’s becoming America’s 50th state. If you plan to be vacationing here this year, you’re almost certain to run into one commemoration or another related to that event.
It’s been a significant half-century for Hawaii. Here are some of the memorable things that have happened over those years, most of which you will have heard of, or will learn more about while you’re here:
For the record, Hawaii became the 50th state on August 21, 1959.
- Tsunami waves hit the Big Island on May 23, 1960. 61 lives were lost.
- The first live TV broadcast from Hawaii to the mainland and from the mainland to Hawaii took place on November 19, 1966. Hawaii watched a Michigan State-Notre Game football game, and scenes of Waikiki were sent to the mainland during halftime.
- 1967 was the first year Hawaii welcomed a million visitors.
- Duke Kananamoku died in 1968, the same year “Hawaii Five-0” began its long run on network TV.
- Tom Sellick and “Magnum P.I.” began their long run in 1980.
- In 1982, Hurricane Iwa hit the islands and caused $312 million in damages.
- Kilauea Volcano began erupting on the Big Island in 1983. Hasn’t stopped yet.
- Local astronaut Ellison Onizuka was among those killed in the 1986 explosion of the space shuttle Challenger.
- The now iconic statue of Duke Kanahamoku on Waikiki Beach was erected in 1990.
- Hurricane Iniki killed four people and caused $2 billion in damages when it struck the islands in 1992.
- In 2005, the Ewa Beach Little League team won the Little League World Series, and last year the Waipio team won it.
- And also last year, Hawaii-born Barack Obama was elected President of the United States.
There are dozens of other happenings to commemorate. You might consider keeping a scrapbook as you vacation in the islands. Check out the Hawaii-Aloha Web site (hawaii-aloha.com), or call 1-800-843-8771. We’ll keep you current with everything that’s going on.