Rodgers Field Dedicated in Simple Ceremony
Many Attend Services Opening New Port to Aviation
RAINBOW CASTS ‘BLESSED OMEN’
Warner Gives Praise to Man Whose Name Honors Field
March 22, 1927
A magnificent rainbow, Hawaiian symbol for providential approval and blessing, appeared in mid-sky directly over the John Rodgers’ airport yesterday when that field was auspiciously and impressively dedicated.
A few minutes before the dedicatory service took place, Governor W. R. Farrington, members of the territorial senate and house, together with others officially attending the event, appeared in the field simultaneously with the sweeping roar of a squadron of army and navy planes as they zoomed low over the same spot.
And in the same twinkling the heavenly rainbow brightened, took on all its traditional colors and hovered above.
Senator Stephen Desha, in offering the dedicatory prayer, referred to the rainbow as “a blessed omen from heaven.”
SEVERAL HUNDRED ATTEND
Several hundred people attended the ceremony. The John Rodgers airport is located near Kalihi basin not far from Moanalua, and it is reached by a road leading off from the Pearl Harbor highway.
Governor Farrington opened the occasion with a reference to aviation and its vital relation to present day civilization, and high praise for Captain John Rodgers as a pioneer in aviation and a friend of Hawaii.
Promptly at 2 o’clock the twelve army and navy planes again swept over the field, causing him to pause for a moment in his address.
The governor then stressed the significance of the occasion, and referred to the part that aviation will soon be playing in the commercial life of the territory.
Senator Stephen Desha of Hilo offered prayer. He called particular attention to the rainbow overhead.
Clarence H. Cooke, speaker of the house and president of the Honolulu Chapter of the National Aeronautic association of the United States, took charge as master of ceremonies. He spoke briefly outlining the nature of the occasion.
Commander M. B. McComb, of Pearl Harbor, was introduced and he told of John Rodgers’ pioneering work in aviation, and his love for that work.
“He had two sweethearts,” said Commander McComb. “His first love was the United States navy and his second love was Hawaii.”
He predicted that the John Rodgers airport will become an important stopping place, not only for commercial and other aviation in Hawaii, but for ships enroute across the Pacific.
Cooke then presented Edward P. Warner, of Washington, assistant secretary of the navy in charge of aeronautics. His address was filled with feeling and charged with prophecy. He referred to the Rodgers family as a family that had been represented in every major engagement of the United States navy, since the United States became a nation.”
“There is a lasting bond of interest between naval men and Honolulu because of the work of John Rodgers,” he said. “Rodgers was interested in Hawaii, and naval men were interested in both Rodgers and Hawaii.”
FAMILY OF PIONEERS
“It is natural that he should be among our pioneers. His family was a family of pioneers. And when aviation came into being John Rodgers was a pioneer in aviation. For 15 years he devoted his life to it. And in dedicating this memorial to his name, you dedicate a memorial that will continue his work into greater fields of accomplishment. Commercial aviation is upon you, and this field will do its part in further developing it.
“There is something very appropriate in this day, the 21st of March. It signifies the passing of winter into summer, the receding of the longest night into the longest day, of passing out of darkness into light.
“Carrying the simile forward, we are over the crest of the hill in aviation and we now have confidence in our future.
“We hereby pledge ourselves to carry on the work where John Rodgers left off—to go on to greater triumphs—to the ultimate goal which shall be the perfect goal of success.”
The gathering then went forward to a veiled object, and when Mrs. W. R. Farrington pulled aside the American flag, a marble memorial to John Rodgers was revealed.
“Buster” McComb was placed upon the memorial where he opened a cage containing several carrier pigeons. The birds fluttered forth, circled and darted off with their messages, one from the governor of the territory to the commandant of the fourteenth naval district, one from Secretary Warner to Admiral McDonald, and one from Maj. Gen. E. M. Lewis to Admiral McDonald.
The governor’s message was: “Greetings from Hawaii. Aloha.”
From Secretary Warner was the following: “This brings word of the opening of a new opportunity in a new country in the interest of flying.”
General Lewis’ said: “salutations from the army to the navy sent by the original air service. May our future air service rival it.”
A. W. Van Valkenburg, Honolulu aviation enthusiast who arranged the dedicatory program, then placed a lei about the Rodgers’ tablet.
Among those attending were Secretary Raymond C. Brown of Hawaii; President Robert W. Shingle of the senate; Clarence H. Cooke, speaker of the house; Walter F. Dillingham, Maj. Gen. E. M. Lewis, Admiral John D. McDonald, Delegate-elect Victor Houston, senators, representatives, leading business men of Honolulu, their wives, and daughters, and army and navy officers.
When the unveiling ceremony had been finished, and the crowd had retired from the field, Commander McComb tuned up his airship, maneuvered slightly and then took off for Pearl Harbor.