HONOLULU — Hawaii honored longtime U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka on Monday by inducting him into the Aloha Order of Merit, an honor reserved for people who have given extraordinary service to the state.
Standing in House chambers at the Hawaii State Capitol, the recently retired lawmaker veered off program to sing “The Rainbow Song” as his sons accompanied him on guitars.
Akaka said the people of Hawaii have a responsibility to share the spirit of aloha, including in ways that affect foreign policy. “I really believe this is a mission of Hawaii,” he said.
Akaka served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1976 to 1990, when he became the first Native Hawaiian to reach the U.S. Senate. Akaka, also the first Polynesian-American senator, was appointed after the death of Spark Matsunaga.