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
[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
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.
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
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