A frequent visitor to the islands, writer Mark Twain called the Hawaii "the most beautiful anchored in any ocean" and on this day in 1959, Hawaii became the 50th of the United States.
"Hawaii is the picture window of the Pacific through which the peoples of the East look into our American front room," described Secretary of Interior Fred A. Seaton of Hawaii's unique strategic location.
Statehood, approved 323-89 by the House of Representatives and 78-16 by the Senate, was signed into law by Dwight D. Eisenhower. This capped decades of debate among local and national leaders and was closely tied to the politics of post-World War II America.
"All forty-nine states will join in welcoming the new one-- Hawaii--to this Union," Eisenhower said. "We will wish for her prosperity, security, happiness, and a growing closer relationship with all of the other states."
Paradise joined the United States and a 50-star flag waved in proud celebration.
"The goal was democracy for all," said Honolulu Star Bulletin editor A. A. Smyser.
Hawaii was discovered by British explorer Captain James Cook in 1778. Hawaii's last monarch, Queen Liliuokalani, was overthrown in 1893. Annexed in 1898 by the U.S. as a territory, the Aloha State's eight major islands include Oahu, Hawaii, Maui, Kauai, Moloka'i, Lanai, Nihau, and Kahoolawe. The islands are located 2,400 miles west of San Francisco and 3,850 miles east of Tokyo.
Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono
(The life of the land is preserved in righteousness)