Friday, November 16, 2001

Hawaii State Seal

Gov looks to raise
U.S. flag at palace

He says flying the flag over Iolani
Palace is "totally appropriate"

By Pat Omandam

Gov. Cayetano said it is "totally appropriate" for the U.S. flag to be raised over Iolani Palace, and is looking into whether it can be flown there all the time, alongside the Hawaiian flag.

The governor responded to a Star-Bulletin story yesterday about the head of Iolani Palace apologizing for temporarily flying the U.S. flag over the palace to honor the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Flying the U.S. flag over Iolani Palace -- and the subsequent apology -- divided members of the native Hawaiian community. Some felt raising the flag over the historic home of Hawaiian monarchy was an insult to Hawaiians because of the U.S. annexation of the kingdom in 1898. Others said the flag raising was appropriate and the apology was unnecessary.

Cayetano said the U.S. flag is appropriate because the historic 122-year-old building is now owned by the state and a part of Hawaiian and American history.

"I think those who are sensitive to the idea, who oppose the idea, have their point of view," Cayetano said yesterday. "But I believe to the overwhelming majority of Hawaiians in this state -- and I'm talking about Hawaiians of Hawaiian blood, not Hawaiians like me -- support the idea that the flag is appropriate over Iolani Palace."

Friends of Iolani Palace Executive Director Alice Guild on Nov. 8 sent an open letter to its board, staff, volunteers and others "affected by flying of the American flag at the palace," saying she should have consulted with the native Hawaiian community before allowing the flag to fly between Sept. 28 and Oct. 28.

Guild has not returned telephone calls from the Star-Bulletin. In her letter she said her apology was prompted by "hurt mail" from the native Hawaiian community about the gesture.

One woman who sent such an e-mail said she is not surprised by Cayetano's response.

"Sensitivity to Hawaiian issues is not important to this regime," said Kau'i P. Goodhue, a member of the Hawaiian Patriotic League who wrote that she would "rather see the Iolani Palace burned to the ground than to see the U.S. flag flying over her again."

Goodhue said yesterday: "There are American flags flying all over the state. ... How does it hurt or help to have the American flag fly over Iolani Palace?"

"If it could change what happened on Sept. 11, I would be the first one raising the flag there, but it won't," she said last night.

Still, Cayetano said he believes Queen Liliuokalani, who flew the U.S. flag over Washington Place in 1917 to honor Hawaiians who died during World War I, would have found it appropriate for the American flag to fly above the palace today.

"I'm not sure why it doesn't fly there every day along with the Hawaiian flag" just like Washington Place and the state Capitol, the governor said.

Others, however, say the queen flew the flag at her private home and would not have done so at the palace.

Today, the Hawaiian flag is usually flown alone above the palace in keeping with the late Hawaiian monarchy period.

Star-Bulletin reporter Rod Antone contributed to this report.

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