Hundreds of people lined up to pay their respects to the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka today as the longtime statesman was lying in state at the Capitol rotunda in Honolulu.
The senator’s widow, Millie, and his sons and daughter, greeted the throng under a large tent that held a closed casket covered with an American flag and a portrait of Akaka as members of the Hawaii National Guard stood watch.
Hugs, tears and lei-giving were the order of the day as a who’s who of Hawaii politicians joined in the solemn ceremony along with the Royal Hawaiian Band and entertainers who performed throughout the day, including dancers and musicians from the Kamehameha Schools.
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Akaka died April 6 at the age of 93 — five years after he retired from a political career in Washington that spanned 3-1/2 decades in both houses of Congress.
A public memorial service for the senator is planned at the rotunda tonight at six with entertainer Kimo Kahoano as emcee.
Scheduled to speak are Gov. David Ige, former Govs. John Waihee, Ben Cayetano and Neil Abercrombie; Lt. Gov. Doug Chin; Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell; Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho; and Hawaii County Managing Director Wil Okabe.
Olelo Community Media will offer live coverage.
On Saturday at 2 p.m. a public Celebration of Life for Akaka will take place at Kawaiaha‘o Church. Visitation will be at noon, with the service led by Kahu James “Kimo” Merseberg at 2 p.m.