Sunday, July 27, 2008

A salute to Isles' immigrants

A memorial celebrating 100 years of Filipino immigration to Hawai'i. It also celebrates all the different ethnic groups and how important they are to this state. DP

Cultures honored as Flag Memorial Plaza dedicated at Plantation Village

By Kelli Miura, Advertiser Staff Writer WAIPAHU — Eight flags waved in graceful synchronization after they were raised simultaneously yesterday in a ceremony dedicating a memorial at Hawai'i's Plantation Village.

The event was to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the arrival of Filipino immigrants in Hawai'i and to honor the vibrant ethnic cultures that all immigrants brought with them.

The Flag Memorial Plaza features a circular formation of flags from eight major ethnic groups for the immigrants who made great effort and greater sacrifice as they left their home countries during the mid-1800s and early 1900s and sought work in Hawai'i's plantations.

As Dr. Patricia Brown, president of the Filipino-American Historical Society of Hawaii, sat watching the flags fly, she realized, "It really is ... so significant because as we were growing up on the plantation, there really was a sharing and a caring for each other and these flags really represent that."

Our neighbors could have been Filipino, Puerto Rican, Hawaiian, Chinese, Japanese, whatever, she said, noting that her father was a sakada, or part of the first group of Filipino laborers in Hawai'i.

"But the point is that it didn't matter what you were. If you needed help in the plantation camp, everybody was equal and that's what these flags embody — an equality and a sharing."

Representatives for each of the flags — Hawai'i, China, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Japan, Okinawa, Korea and the Philippines — were present at the ceremony, where the American flag was also raised.
Be sure to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

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