The United States Marine Raider Association wishes to extend its gratitude to the Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, the Honorable Sir Allen Kamekeza, the 8,778 signers of the petion to keep (Guadalcanal’s “Henderson Field” Name), Mr. John Innes Guadalcanal historian and head of Technisyst Solomon Island computer company and the numerous TV, radiostations, newspapers and magazines which ran the Marine Raider press release for their cooperation in this effort.
Subj: Re: Renaming Henderson Field
Date: 8/17/03 3:42:43 PM Central Daylight Time
To: Ohgng@aol.com [Sent from the Internet (Details)]
Sorry you didn’t get the update message I sent out. I had a meeting with the Prime Minister about five weeks ago. I presented him the online petition with over eight thousand names on it. He assured me that there would be no name change. He has also passed on that information to the American consulate here. He was dismissive of some junior members in his government that had suggested the change. I saw him again last Saturday at a ceremony commemorating the sinking of the HMAS Canberra and told me once again there would not be any change.
The mood of the local Solomon Islanders as reflected in letters to the local newspaper was very much against a name change. The Premier of Guadalcanal Province also sent a letter to the Prime Minister expressing his strong feelings that there should be no name change.
PS The Solomon Islands is not a republic and we do not have a president. Although it is an independant country, it is a monarchy and has Queen Elizabeth as the head of state. See you in September
HENDERSON FIELD NOW HONIARA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT – HENDERSON FIELD
Despite the assurance from the Solomon Island Prime Minister Kemakeza to the more than 8,000 petition signers, that Henderson Field would not be renamed; The Solomon Island Minister of Communication, Aviation and Meteorology, Daniel Fa’afunua announced the field is now Honiara Internatinal Airport – Henderson Field. This is documented in Radio Australia News, Go Asia Pacific, Solomon Islands, of September 11, 2003. Perhaps the Petitioners must accept half a victory in the hyphenated name. The Solomon Island government has made a truely Solomonic compromise in the renaming.
Perhaps this will satisfy the memory of Major Lofton Henderson USMC and the Japanese renovators of the Airport. To the Petioners, do not overlook the name, Henderson, after the hyphen.
Prime Minister Kemakeza’s Letter to the Petioners.
Dear petition signers and veterans:
As Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, I would like thank the over eight thousand signors to the “Keep Guadalcanal’s Henderson Field Airport Name” petition for taking the time to express their feelings about this important issue. On July 10th, Solomon Island resident, and Guadalcanal WWII historian, Mr. John Innes delivered your petition to my office on behalf of www.pacificwrecks.com This petition included the signatures of over 8,000 signors, and the print out made up hundreds of printed pages. This copy was accepted, and will remain in the government archives, for access by future generations.I had already resolved that there would be no name change when the original name change suggestion was made. It was heartening though to see so many people supporting my stance. Thank you so much for your support. Here in the Solomons, opinions were unanimous regarding this issue. Letters to the editor in our national newspaper, “The Solomon Star”, were unanimous in wanting to retain the name “Henderson”. The premiere of Guadalcanal Province also wrote me a letter, strongly urging retention of the name ‘Henderson’.The voices of the people of the Solomon Islands, and the thousands of signors to your petition and my Government are in agreement on this issue. I can assure you, that the name “Henderson” will be retained.We in the Solomons Islands are aware of the WWII heritage all around us. We are especially respectful of the feelings of the US and Solomon Island veterans who served in our country during the Second World War. We are also aware that the struggle for the airfield was not just an American fight. Solomon Islanders fought alongside their American friends sharing many tribulations and hardships until the struggle for Henderson was finally won. As a result of those shared hardships a special bond exists between Americans and Solomon Islanders. We therefore would be especially delighted if you could visit us here in the Solomons. Come and see Henderson and the battlefields where the ‘greatest generation’ fought.
Tagio too mus and ‘Semper Fi’.
Sir Allan Kemakeza
Prime Minister Solomon Islands
BREAKING NEWS – Radio Australia, September 11, 2003
Solomon Islands renames its international airport Solomon Islands’ Henderson International Airport has been renamed ‘Honiara International Airport – Henderson Field’.
The name change was announced by the Minister for Communication, Aviation and Meteorology, Daniel Fa’afunua. The minister admitted the name change was a very sensitive issue and an emotional one for those attached to the old name.
However, he said, as a sovereign country, Solomon Islands must decide on the name of its airport and that the government believes the name change will benefit the nation.
11/09/2003 09:46:09 I ABC Radio Australia News