Correction: An earlier version of this story said Hawaii was the only U.S. battlefield in World War II. In fact, in 1942 Japanese forces occupied two islands in Alaska’s Aleutian chain and hundreds of Allied soldiers were killed in a series of battles that eventually recaptured the territory. 

Hawaii is technically the 50th state, but U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions doesn’t seem to think it’s of much consequence, as evidenced by his dismissal of a Hawaii Judge’s ruling against President Trump’s travel ban.

“I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the president of the United States from what appears to be clearly his statutory and constitutional power,” he told radio host Mark Levin Wednesday.

While U.S. Sens. Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz expressed outrage over the AG’s comment, maybe Sessions is on to something.

Here are five reasons Sessions might be right about the Aloha State — it is a bit different.

1. It launched America into World War II.

While other states certainly felt the impacts of World War II, Hawaii took a physical pounding with the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, “a date which will live in infamy.

Most Americans would call it an essential part of U.S. history. What say you, Mr. Sessions?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. The U.S. Pacific Command is headquartered here.

According to its website, the command is responsible for “about half the earth’s surface,” a region that’s “home to more than 50% of the world’s population, 3,000 different languages, several of the world’s largest militaries, and five nations allied with the U.S. through mutual defense treaties.” Yawn.

120727-N-VD564-015PACIFIC OCEAN (July 27, 2012)Ships and submarines participating in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise 2012 sail in formation in the waters around the Hawaiian islands. Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise from June 29 to Aug. 3, in and around the Hawaiian Islands. The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2012 is the 23rd exercise in the series that began in 1971. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Keith Devinney/RELEASED)

3. Diversity is our strong suit.

In a brutal response to Sessions, Mazie Hirono tweeted “Hawaii was built on the strength of diversity & immigrant experiences.” Ethnically, linguistically and culturally, Hawaii is one of the most diverse states in the nation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OK, it might be a little strange that the attorney general of a country built on the success of immigrants and the basis of equality would belittle a state that falls precisely in line with those values.

4. It’s the birthplace of the 44th President of the United States.

Though Sessions’ boss might beg to differ, Hawaii is the birthplace of President Barack Obama, the nation’s first African American President. But maybe making history is overrated.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama give a shaka as they board Air Force One at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam. 3 jan 2015. photograph Cory Lum/Civil Beat

5. It’s one of America’s favorite places to spend downtime.

Millions of Americans choose to spend their hard-earned time off in the Aloha State each year. It’s a beloved destination for many in the U.S. — some might even call it the most beautiful state in the nation. Still, it is just an island in the Pacific.

About the Author

  • Landess Kearns

    Landess Kearns is the audience development editor for Civil Beat. She helps curate Civil Beat’s social media feeds and writes the Morning Beat newsletter.

    Landess grew up in Honolulu and is a graduate of Punahou School. After high school, she left Oahu and moved to the midwest, where she received a bachelor’s degree in English writing at Saint Mary’s College in Indiana.

     

    After receiving her diploma, Landess came to her senses and returned to the Aloha State to begin her professional career. Prior to joining the Civil Beat team in January 2017, Landess was senior editor at HuffPost Hawaii, a partnership between Civil Beat and The Huffington Post. She also previously held positions at Pacific Business News and the U.S. Pacific Fleet headquarters.

     

    You can follow Landess on Twitter @landesskearns or email her at landess@civilbeat.org.
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