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?
Jeff Sessions calls it "some island in the Pacific" We call it the 50th state and site of the only WWII battlefield on US soil. pic.twitter.com/vhz8Ij0kB6
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.
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, linguisticallyand culturally, Hawaii is one of the most diverse states in the nation.
Hawaii was built on the strength of diversity & immigrant experiences- including my own. Jeff Sessions’ comments are ignorant & dangerous
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.
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.
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.