Hawai‘i State Senators joined hundreds of mourners at the State Capitol today to pay their final respects to U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka.
Akaka, who died April 6 at age 93, was the first Native Hawaiian to serve in the U.S. Senate. His humble personality earned him the nickname, the “Ambassador of Aloha.”
The Senator’s flag-draped casket was carried into the Capitol Rotunda at 10 a.m. by Hawai‘i National Guard members and was escorted by Governor David Ige, First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige, Senate President Ron Kouchi, House Speaker Scott Saiki, and Native Hawaiian organizations including Ke One O Kākuhihewa, O‘ahu Council of the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs. Legislators, along with other state officials, lined the red carpet.
The Royal Hawaiian Band led the day-long program of music with Akaka’s favorite song, “Hawaiian Lullaby.” An impressive line-up of local musicians has been scheduled to play throughout the day.
An evening service attended by Legislators, former Governors, and other dignitaries gathered to bid a final farewell to the revered statesman who served almost 22 years in the U.S. Senate and prior to that, more than 13 years in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Akaka will lay in state at the Capitol building for 24 hours before his casket will be taken to Kawaiahao Church for a celebration of life. On May 21, a private burial will be held for Akaka at the National Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl.