The Hawaiian Flag!
The Support of Hawaii!!
It is this symbol which honors you, O Hawaii; it is a mantle for you to have pride in; and above all things, it is the Support for the roof of your house, secured unwaveringly; and it is worthy of pride and boasting. Its awesome beauty as it flutters on the tips of the winds presents Hawaii across the four corners of this globe.
This symbol, a Flag, the affection for it is indelibly emblazoned in all peoples; and thus they are proud of and boast of the Flag of their own nation. Abuse of the flag of a nation is the abusing of the nation and its people. Rebellions, quarrels, and wars have been started between nations of this world because of the scorning and mistreatment of the flag of one nation by another.
Amongst all patriots, among the true natives who honestly prize their land of birth; amongst those who stand steadfast behind their own nation; it is a lei and a cherished thing; yes; it is not only there that their thirst of aloha for their flag is quenched, but there is so much more—for its waving in victory is the Support [Koo] which sustains their independence by way of their nation.
In all lands, the Flag is the symbol by which a nation is established; and a land without this symbol, is a land without a nation.
In battlefields on land and sea, the Flag guides; the Flag directs; and upon the Flag lies the hope of all; from the highest General all the way down to the lowest-ranking soldier. For as long as it continues to flutter before their eyes, it symbolizes onward progress, whereas if it falls and disappears, this shows their defeat and retreat.
It was said a long time ago, when a French officer was getting ready to be shot by order of the government for a great wrong he committed, he took out a Flag of the Italian Nation from his breast, and wrapped it about his body and told them to shoot him. But the orders of the nation was not carried out and the request by the soldier was not agreed to. Why? Because the Flag of Italy was sacred, they could not allow it to be abused by shooting at it and making holes in it with French bullets for no cause; and being that the officer covered himself in the Italian Flag, if he was shot, then the Italian Flag would have been left with holes. With that, the officer escaped and left the French borders in victory.
Our Hawaiian Flag is not like that. It is not a Flag that aids in war, or in rebellion, and not at all in rioting; but it is a Flag that is a symbol of progress, peace, unity, and aloha. And for it, it is appropriate to sing the loving lines spoken earlier—
“Ka Hae nani o Hawaii,
E mau kou welo ana;
Ma na welelau makani,
O neia Paeaina.”
“The beautiful Flag of Hawaii,
May you wave forever;
On the fringes of the wind,
Of these Islands.”
In our Flag we have a steadfast platform of independence; and it is a symbol presenting Hawaii; look, it is a member of the one family of nations, along with all of the great nations of the world. And everywhere which its fringes extend, it will be recognized, and it will indeed be given respect, as all the flags of all the other nations of high standing within that same family do.
[This article goes with the cover picture of the Hae Hawaii posted yesterday. It appears in the very first issue of the newspaper titled “Ke Koo o Hawaii” (The Support of Hawaii).]
(Koo o Hawaii, 8/15/1883, p. 6)