President Signs Proclamation; Hawaii Becomes the 50th State


POSTED: Tuesday, August 18, 2009

WASHINGTON, Aug. 21 (UPI)—Hawaii became a state today.

The President's official proclamation making the United States 50 strong was a highly legalistic document but in essence it admitted the Pacific Island Territory into the Union “;on an equal footing with the other states.”;

Once the formality of the proclamation was out of the way, Eisenhower warmly welcomed the new state with Wishes for its prosperity, security, happiness and close ties with the other 49 states.


“;We know she is ready to do her part and make this Union a stronger nation than it was before,”; he said.

The President used 12 pens to sign the proclamation and an executive order, then distributed them among the dignitaries present.

His informal remarks brought to a close the brief 10-minute ceremony which Eisenhower described as “;truly a historic occasion.”;

He said that “;all 49 states will join in welcoming”; Hawaii into the Union.

“;We will be wishing her prosperity, security, happiness and a growing closer relationship with all of the other states,”; Eisenhower said.


The President made his informal remarks after signing the Statehood proclamation with four pens and he executive order for the new flag with an additional eight pens.

He distributed the pens afterward to the dignitaries present, including Vice-President Nixon, House speaker Rayburn, Interior Secretary Seaton and the state's newly-elected Senator Long and Representative Inouye.

Immediately following the ceremony, Hawaii's Governor Quinn was officially notified of the signing by outgoing Territorial Secretary Edward Johnston, who telephoned him in Honolulu from the White House.

Long said the ceremony was a final tribute to the “;imagination and courage”; shown by Congress in breaking “;all precedents and bringing in a new state in the very heart of the Pacific Ocean.”;

Lorrin Thurston, chairman of the former Hawaii Statehood commission, said, “;I am glad I am out of a job.”;


Thurston is also publisher of the Honolulu Advertiser.

Inouye expressed hope that in his “;small way”; he could serve as a “;testament to the democratic good will”; which was demonstrated by the admission of the new state.

Inouye, who lost an arm in combat during World War II, said that when President Eisenhower walked into the room and shook hands with him, the President asked whether he has served under him while he was commanding Allied forces in Europe.

Inouye said he had—as a member of the famed 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the all-Nisei regiment.

Inouye said the President asked him if he were happy.

He replied “;yes”; but added:

“;For the first time in my life as a politician I am at a loss for words.”;

Later, Inouye told newsmen that he had hoped to see Hawaii's former Deleate Burns at the ceremony, but that through some “;inadvertence”; he apparently was not invited.