Last Friday, Sept. 21, Hawaii celebrated its very first Peace Day holiday.
We observed this special occasion with a ceremony at the State Capitol that included hula, speeches, a candle lighting ceremony, art work, and music by Raiatea Helm, Iggy Jang, I-bei Lin and the Hongwanji Mission School Choir.
Early in the evening, a panel of experts also discussed ways in which Hawaii can contribute to peacemaking both at home and abroad.
There were even some rainbow pigeons involved ... and some enthusiastic people to launch them, including Speaker Calvin Say.
After all the chaos and hectic preparations, the ceremony went very well... with the exception of some unexpected rain that might have gotten some of our guests a little wet.
Luckily, despite the showers, everyone remained in good spirits throughout the night.
Rep. Jon Riki Karamatsu, Sen. Carol Fukunaga and Dr. Jeannie Lum of the Matsunaga Institute for Peace presented a special Peace Day Award to the late U.S. Senator Spark M. Matsunaga, which was received by his grandchildren and his son, Matt Matsunaga.
Winners of the "Expressions of Peace" art and literary contest were also recognized.
We're currently working on putting their work up with the rest of the over 300 art submissions currently displayed in the State Capitol chamber level. You'll also be able to see all the art pieces online soon at peace.oceanit.com.
The evening ended with a candle lighting ceremony, a song from the Hongwanji Mission School Choir and a statewide moment of silence for peace. With help from 'Olelo, we were able to get the message of peace out to the entire state.
Rep. Karamatsu expressed some personal thoughts about Peace Day in an op-ed that appeared in the Advertiser on Friday.
Thanks to everyone who helped make the inaugural Peace Day event a big success! Happy Peace Day!