President Barack Obama’s home state of Hawaii is not in any hurry to immortalize his name. Many states are full of buildings, rivers, mountains, etc. named after native sons who become president, but Hawaii isn’t one of them.
The stark fact is nothing in the State of Hawaii is named after the president. Presently on his last annual vacation to Hawaii as commander-in-chief, there are no plans to dedicate anything as he begins his final year the White House. Not one serious attempt has been made to honor the nation’s first African-American president, reports The Washington Post on Friday.
It is not from lack of trying by some individuals. Sometimes honoring the president has been attempted over and over again. Take for instance Stanley Chang, a former member of the Honolulu City Council. He has tried a total of seven times to get something, anything named after Obama. No luck.
Other Hawaiian politicians have tried and failed since 2009 to rename places and things after Obama. That includes a scenic overlook, two schools, and two state holidays. Even an apartment building where Obama lived added to the National Register of Historic Places has failed.
The most famous thing with Obama’s name in his home state is a shaved ice treat, the “Snowbama.” It’s a mix of lemon, lime, cherry and passion guava flavors that sells for for $4 at Island Snow, a place the president’s family visits on vacations.
Hawaii may not be enthused about memorializing the president’s name, but other states don’t have that problem. Two examples are the Old Dixie Highway at Florida’s Riviera Beach that has been renamed for Obama and nearby Pahokee’s East First Street, now Barack Obama Boulevard.
In contrast, Former President Ronald Reagan has had approximately 109 buildings, roads and schools named after him including Washington’s Reagan National Airport. Obama’s main problem with the Hawaiian people may be the state’s heritage. Many citizens want to protect the Polynesian past of the island. “People here believe that land has spirit and feeling. It’s not just dirt,” said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell in an interview with the Post.
Another facet of the problem is the president’s age. Traditionally, former presidents are honored in this fashion sometimes 50-years after their death.
Then there is State Rep. Gene Ward. A few years back he co-sponsored the bill to honor the president’s name. Now he would not offer to revive it. The Republican lawmaker said, “Given the way he’s handled the presidency and handled the security of our nation, I just don’t have the heart for it. He didn’t put the presidential library here. He comes to Hawaii and doesn’t even wear an Aloha shirt.”