Statehood Day: Hawaii
The third Friday of August
by Liz Olson
Statehood Day in Hawaii commemorates Hawaii’s admission as the 50th state of the United States. Hawaii was annexed by the United States in 1898, and became a U.S. territory in 1900. The importance of Hawaii to the rest of the country was not fully acknowledged, however, until after the bombing at Pearl Harbor in 1941 during World War II. On Aug. 21, 1959, President Eisenhower granted statehood to Hawaii after a 323 to 89 vote in the U.S. House of Representatives.
In celebration of the event, the third Friday of August is designated a state holiday. Government offices, schools, and major universities are closed in honor of Statehood Day. Some bus and ferry companies observe the public holiday and do not offer service, while others operate on the holiday. Not all Hawaiians celebrate Statehood Day—it remains a controversial holiday among some local Hawaiian natives who would prefer Hawaii to be independent.
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