Live Blog: Hawai‘i Memorial Service for the Late U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka

Our live blog covering the services for the late Senator Daniel Akaka.

Public services for the late Sen. Daniel Akaka are taking place May 18 and 19 at the Hawai‘i State Capitol and nearby Kawaiaha‘o Church. Bookmark this page to follow our coverage from both places. View the schedule of events here. 


Saturday, May 19

2:53 p.m.

Senator Daniel Akaka's family enters Kawaiahao Church
Millie akaka enters kawaiahao church with her sons and family. she and the senator would have celebrated 70 years of marriage this year.
photo: david croxford


After the congregation sings Hawaiian Lullaby, Danny Akaka, Jr. shared memories of growing up with his father. With his three brothers and one sister behind him, Danny spoke about his father's spirituality and his love for family, church and music. 


He loved his music, he was a music teacher, he was a choir director, band teacher. Music was really at the core of a lot of what he did, as it is for each and every one of us. We all pretty much sing, pretty much.” That drew laughter from the audience. “We have some good support if you don't sing. From a very young time, dad instead of forcing us to sing or learn out to play an instrument, he always helped to nudged us in whatever direction we wanted to go. 


“As dad would always say, we never say goodbye, but ahui hou. Ahui hou dad, we love you. 


1:17 p.m.

Puanani Akaka waits for the funeral services of Sen. Daniel Akaka.

photo: david croxford


The line outside Kawaiahao Church is reflected in the sunglasses of Puanani Akaka as she waits to enter for the funeral services of the late Sen. Daniel Akaka. The senator and Puanani's grandfather were cousins. The Akaka ohana will be represented in the service by son Danny Akaka, Jr., who will offer reflections from the senator's five children; grandson Dr. David Mattson will speak on behalf of the senator's 15 grandchildren; son Dr. Gerard Akaka will provide the scripture lesson in English; daughter Millannie Akaka Mattson will provide greetings and aloha. 


photo: diane Lee


10:23 a.m.

Sen. Daniel Akaka's grandsons carry his casket into Kawaiahao Church.

Sen. Daniel Akaka's grandson Alika Akaka (left), grandson Kala Akaka (middle) and son Nick Akaka (right) carry the senator's casket into Kawaiahao Church.
photo: david croxford


The casket has arrived at the church. The doors will open to the public for visitation at noon. The service will begin at 2 p.m. and will run until 3:30 p.m. led by Kahu James “Kimo” Merseberg. 


10:15 a.m.

Honolulu Police escort Sen. Daniel Akaka's casket enroute to Kawaiahao Church from the State Capitol.
photo: david croxford


Honolulu Police escort the senator's casket enroute to Kawaiaha‘o Church. The motorcade circled the State Capitol, traveling down Beretania, Richards, King and Punchbowl streets.


10:07 a.m.

Outside Kawaiahao Church just before Sen. Daniel Akaka's casket arrives.

photo: diane lee


Camera crews and other media wait on the steps of Kawaiaha‘o Church as the Hawai‘i Army National Guard, police escorts and family prepare to move the casket from the State Capitol. 


Senator Daniel Akaka's casket leaving the State Capitol.

photo: david croxford


3:06 a.m.

U.S. Sen. Akaka memorial service
Photo: David Croxford


Members of the Hawai‘i Army and Air National Guard stand watch in the quiet hours of the early morning while a few remaining observers pay their respects. 


Friday, May 18 

8:30 p.m.

The National Guard will keep watch overnight as Sen. Daniel Akaka lies in state.

photo: David Croxford


As people continue to come in to pay their respects, the Hawaii Army and Air National Guard gets ready for the overnight hours. Two sets of National Guard will rotate every half hour in eight-hour shifts. The senator will lie in state until 10 a.m. Saturday morning when he will be escorted to Kawaiaha‘o Church. The public celebration of life there begins at 2 p.m. Click here to view the schedule. 

  Senator Daniel Akaka lies in state overnight at the state capitol.

Photo: Diane Lee


6 to 7 p.m.

Robert Cazimero sings "Hawaiian Lullaby" in honor of the late Sen. Daniel Akaka.
Photo: David croxford


The evening service began with Robert Cazimero singing Hawaiian Lullaby, Senator Akaka's favorite song. Where I live, there are rainbows. With life and laughter in the mornings and starry nights.


Former Gov. George Ariyoshi told the crowd he offered Akaka the lieutenant governor job in 1974. Akaka turned him down which worked out for the best. He had the heart and the spirit and the head, Ariyoshi said.

  Family and friends gather for the evening services for the late Sen. Daniel Akaka at the State Capitol.

Photo: Robbie dingeman


Former Gov. John Waihee said when Spark Matsunaga died, he believed Akaka was the best person to serve as senator. Former Gov. Ben Cayetano drew a laugh when he said that Akaka had a knack for disagreeing with people without offending him, then added I wish he taught me that.

  Former Gov. Ben Cayetano speaks about the late Sen. Daniel Akaka.

Photo: david croxford


Daughter Milliannie Akaka Mattson thanked those who had gathered for all the love and support and stories of her dad. She acknowledged that the family endured some sacrifices but, it was not wasted and it was good for everybody.


Senator Akaka's widow Millie at the evening services at the State Capitol.
Photo: david croxford


5:17 p.m.

A portrait of the late Sen. Daniel Akaka.
Photo: Diane Lee


Services are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. at the State Capitol. Iconic entertainer Robert Cazimero will sing Hawaiian Lullaby followed by a prayer service by Kahu James “Kimo Merseberg and remarks by Gov. David Ige, and former governors George Ariyoshi, John Waihe‘e, Ben Cayetano, Neil Abercrombie, Lt. Gov. Chin, Mayor Caldwell, Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Big Island Managing Director Wil Okabe for Mayor Harry Kim and Senator Akaka’s daughter Millannie Akaka.


Through the afternoon

An overview of the viewing area at the State Capitol as Sen. Daniel Akaka lies in state.
Photo: David croxford 


A stream of friends, family, former staffers, politicians and well-wishers stopped by. Quite a few chanted, sang or danced. Several of the Akaka children played music while visitors danced. With the tent in the middle, some members of the family nearby, and the music playing, the services feel more like a warm family reunion than formal memorial for a U.S. Senator. 


11:15 a.m.

Kamehameha Schools performs in honor of alumnus Sen. Daniel Akaka.
Photo: Robbie Dingeman


Dancers from Kamehameha Schools perform. Senator Akaka attended public schools before graduating from The Kamehameha School for Boys.



11:05 a.m.

Sen. Daniel Akaka services.
Photo: David Croxford


Retired Windward Community College journalism professor Libby Young speaks with Millie, the late senators widow. Family members plan to greet visitors paying their respects this morning, again at 6 p.m. and then take turns through the rest of the public visitation at the state capitol.


10:36 a.m.


10:02 a.m.

A colorguard escorts in the casket of the late Sen. Daniel Akaka to the State Capitol.


The military color guard carries the late senator’s casket into the State Capitol followed by the Akaka family. The senator will lie in state for 24 hours until 10 a.m. Saturday. 


10:00 a.m.


9:55 a.m.


9:52 a.m.

Senator Akaka services hearse
Photo: Diane Lee


The hearse pulled up in the roundabout on Beretania Street where flags have flown at half-staff since the senator’s death on April 6. 


9:48 a.m. 

Sen. Daniel Akaka will lie in state for 24 hours surrounded by music, dance and tributes from friends and family.
Photo: Robbie Dingeman

The Royal Hawaiian Band performed for a crowd of about 300 people who gathered to wait for the arrival of the casket of the late Sen. Daniel Akaka. 


Related Stories 

What to Expect for the 24-Hour Services Honoring the Late U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka

Honoring the Life and Legacy of the Late U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka

Read This Personal Interview with Former U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka

Remembering Daniel Akaka, Hawai‘i’s Longtime U.S. Senator