The Hawai'i State Flag
Before 1810 each of the populated Hawaiian Islands was ruled by its own King and the political and religious systems administerd by ali'i and kahuna (chiefs and priests). Though there were conflicts between the various ali'i and kings from time to time, the people of the islands, for the most part farmers and fishermen, were not inclined toward long term war and life among the islands was relatively peaceful and practical.
That was before 1810 and before a young, ambitious ali'i, Kamehameha, managed to aquire a small schooner with a cannon. With the help of his cannon and various small arms brought to the islands by European travelers, he was able to take control of the island chain from Hawaii to Kauai. He instituted systems of governance, commerce, and taxation, establishing his court on the island of Hawaii and appointing governors to control all of the other islands. Kamehameha created a single sovereign nation that gained recognition as such by the major powers of the world.
In 1816, Kamehameha the Great commissioned the Hawaiian Flag, the flag that has represented Hawaii the nation, Hawaii the people and Hawaii the state for over 180 years. Though Hawaii's independence was briefly challenged in 1843 by Lord Paulette, Great Britain sent Admiral Thomas to officially restore and recognize Hawaii's sovereignty and flag on July 31, 1843.
On that same day, Kamehameha III proclaimed "Ua mau ke ea o ka `aina i ka pono." (The life [independence] of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.) And, two years later on May 20, 1845, Kamehameha III officially re-commissioned and dedicated the Hawaiian Flag at the opening of the Kingdom's Legislature.
The eight alternating white, red and blue stripes represent the eight islands of Hawaii. The British Union Jack represents Hawaii's historical relationship with Great Britian as its protectorate. It also represents a stylized puela (a triangular standard laying across two crossed spears called an alia) which is the symbol of the Hawaiian ali'i.
Hawaii Flag Law
The following information was excerpted from The Hawaii Revised Statutes, Volume 1, Chapter 5.
CHAPTER 5. EMBLEMS AND SYMBOLS.
[§5-19] Description of the Hawaiian flag. The official description of the Hawaiian flag as authorized to represent the State of Hawaii on land and sea, and authorized for executive state agencies, second to the stars and stripes of the United States shall be:
(1) The Hawaiian flag shall consist of eight horizontal stripes, alternately white, red, blue, etc., beginning at the top, having a jack cantoned in the dexter chief angle next to the point of suspension;
(2) The jack shall consist of a blue field charged with a compound saltire (crossing) of alternate tincture white and red, the white having precedence; a narrow edge of white borders each red side of the saltire;
(3) A red cross bordered with white is charged (placed) over all;
(4) The proportion shall be as follows:
(A) The fly (length) is twice the hoist (width);
(B) The jack is half the hoist (width) in breadth and 7-16 the fly in length;
(C) The arms of the red cross with border shall be equal in width to one of the horizontal stripes; the white border shall be one-third the width of the red cross;
(D) The arms of the compound saltire (crossing) are equal in width to the red cross, the tinctures white, red, and the border being in the proportion of 3, 2, 1, respectively.
When the Hawaiian flag is flown from the same halyard as the flag of the United States of America is flown, it shall be underneath the national colors
The Hawaiian flag shall not be used to cover a platform or speaker's desk, nor to drape over the front of a speaker's platform.
When the Hawaiian flag and the flag of the United States of America are displayed on a speaker's platform at the same time, the Hawaiian flag shall be on the left side of the speaker, the speaker's left, while the flag of the United States of America is on the right side of the speaker, the speaker's right.
When the Hawaiian flag is used to cover a casket, it shall be so placed that the jack is at the head and over the left shoulder. The flag shall not be lowered into the grave or allowed to touch the ground.
To fold the Hawaiian flag ceremoniously, first fold it lengthwise, bringing the striped half up over the jack. Then repeat, with the jack on the outside. Beginning at the lower right, make a series of triangular folds until the flag resembles a cocked hat with only the jack visible.
The Hawaiian flag shall be flown at half-mast by first raising it to the top of the flagpole, and then slowly lowering it to a position one-fourth of the distance down the flagpole, and there leaving it during the time it is to be displayed. In taking the flag down, it shall first be raised to the top of the flagpole, and then slowly lowered with appropriate ceremony.
When the Hawaiian flag is in such condition of repair that it is no longer a suitable emblem for displaying, it shall be totally destroyed, preferably by burning, and that privately; or this shall be done by some other method in keeping with the spirit of respect and reverence that all owe the emblem that represents the Aloha State of Hawaii. [L 1990, c 215, pt of §2]
The following information was extracted from The Constitution of the State of Hawaii, Article 15, Section 3.
Section 3. The Hawaiian flag shall be the flag of the State. [Ren Const Con 1978 and election Nov 7, 1978]
Source: Hawaii State Legislature, Hawaii Revised Statutes, (http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/?), July 7, 2007.
Hawaii (U.S.): FOTW "Flags of the World" Web Site.
State Flags: Complete list of state flags with links to large pictures and images suitable for coloring.
Flag Terminology: The parts of a flag and terms associated with its design.
Visit Our Flag Shop: Purchase all kinds of flags and banners, lapel pins, 50 state flag sets, decals, patches, college banners at the Flag Shop.
Purchase Hawaii State Flags: You may purchase quality state flags from the United States Flag Store.
Flags of the Fifty States and their Incredible Histories: A complete guide to America's most powerful symbols by Randy Howe.
How Proudly They Wave: Flags of the Fifty States: This book, by Rita D. Haban, is geared toward younger readers.
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