History

The War Memorial Dedication of the Neal S. Blaisdell Center

This is a condensed timeline of the war memorial dedication of the Neal S. Blaisdell Center, then known as the Honolulu International Center (HIC).

Until mid 1962, frequent media reference to the complex as a War Memorial can be found, and it's referred to as a Municipal Memorial Auditorium by the Pacific War Memorial Commission. 1)Hawaii State Archives, Pacific War Memorial Commission, Box No. 2, Newsletters, Vol. 1, No. 3. Text indicates it was printed after May 1962.

Pacific War Memorial Commission Newsletter 1962 Pacific War Memorial Commission Newsletter 1962

After this time the concept of a Memorial fades and no reference can be found in City and County of Honolulu publications. The latest known media reference is March 1963. 2)Star-Bulletin, 3/14/1963. In late 1963 the City is reminded of this oversight, and planning for the memorial dedication begins, which eventually occurs on September 12, 1964.

12/27/63: Letter from Mayor Neal Blaisdell to State Senator Sakae Takahashi in response to a letter from Takahashi concerning the auditorium as a War Memorial. 3)City Clerk's Office, Council Minutes, Mayor's Message No. 5, 1/7/1964. Blaisdell references State intent for the complex to be a War Memorial as well as a Memorial plaque being designed for placement there.

3/24/64: Letter from Mayor Blaisdell to City Council regarding "our new War Memorial Auditorium and Theater-Concert Hall complex, the Honolulu International Center”, and refers to the HIC as "a living memorial to Hawaii’s war heroes." On Sept 12, a "formal program and ceremony will dedicate the Honolulu International Center to those men and women of Hawaii who have served their country in time of war.”  4)City Clerk's Office, Mayor's Message No. 219, 3/24/1964.

3/25/64: Advertiser article states the Center will be dedicated to war Veterans.

9/4/64: Letter from Mayor Blaisdell to City Council with HIC dedication schedule of events stating on Sept 12 there will be "ceremonies dedicating the complex as War Memorial." 5)City Clerk's Office, Mayor's Message No. 612, 9/4/1964.

9/7/64: Letter from citizen to City Council noting that since Governor John Burns will dedicate the HIC to Hawaii's war heroes, it should be renamed the Honolulu Memorial Center. 6)City Clerk's Office, Petition No. 31, 1964. Letter by Betty McGill.1964-09-10 Hawaiis War Heroes

9/6, 9/10, 9/12, 9/12: Newspaper articles state the HIC will be dedicated to "Hawaii's war heroes" 7)Star-Bulletin & Advertiser, 9/6/1964; Star Bulletin, Sept. 10,12, 1964; Advertiser, 9/12/1964.

9/12/64: Governor Burns' written remarks dedicate the Arena to the "living memory of the many thousands of sons and daughters of Hawaii who have served and are continuing to serve in our country’s armed forces", and "this complex of buildings" as a monument to those of our citizens who have made sacrifices in the defense of our national security.” 8)Hawaii State Archives, Governor Burns Papers, 1964 M-481-41-1 Sept, HIC Arena Dedication, 9/12/1964.

9/12/64: The memorial dedication ceremony on Sept 12, described on 9/13 and 9/14, took place outside the Arena. 9)Star-Bulletin & Advertiser, 9/13/1964; Star-Bulletin, 9/14/1964. There appeared to be confusion as to whether just the Arena or the entire HIC was the Memorial, as the Arena was the original War Memorial Auditorium.

Gov. Burns: It is fitting that this building be dedicated to those who have given their lives for their country.”

Mayor Blaisdell: "It is with a deep feeling of enduring love that I tonight dedicate these facilities to the men and women of Hawaii who served their country in time of war.”

Rev. Abraham Akaka, blessing the plaque dedicating the Center to the State’s war dead remarked Let our Honolulu International Center ever be a symbol of your aloha.”

Text of Memorial plaque as reported: Honolulu International Center: Dedicated to All the Sons and Daughters of Hawaii Who Served Their Country in Time of War and in Special Tribute to those Who Gave Their Lives in Order That Freedom and Justice Might Prevail Throughout the World”

References   [ + ]

1. Hawaii State Archives, Pacific War Memorial Commission, Box No. 2, Newsletters, Vol. 1, No. 3. Text indicates it was printed after May 1962.
2. Star-Bulletin, 3/14/1963.
3. City Clerk's Office, Council Minutes, Mayor's Message No. 5, 1/7/1964.
4. City Clerk's Office, Mayor's Message No. 219, 3/24/1964.
5. City Clerk's Office, Mayor's Message No. 612, 9/4/1964.
6. City Clerk's Office, Petition No. 31, 1964. Letter by Betty McGill.
7. Star-Bulletin & Advertiser, 9/6/1964; Star Bulletin, Sept. 10,12, 1964; Advertiser, 9/12/1964.
8. Hawaii State Archives, Governor Burns Papers, 1964 M-481-41-1 Sept, HIC Arena Dedication, 9/12/1964.
9. Star-Bulletin & Advertiser, 9/13/1964; Star-Bulletin, 9/14/1964.

Returning Honor to Hawaii's Forgotten War Memorial