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news News Friday, June 12, 2020 Friday, June 12, 2020 4:52 PM - Friday, June 12, 2020 4:52 PM

Shriners Hospitals for Children — Honolulu celebrates 50th anniversary of 'Editorial Without Words' and iconic statue

Staff honor milestone occassion with lei-draping cermeony

Shriners Hospitals for Children — Honolulu celebrates 50th anniversary of 'Editorial Without Words' and iconic statue

Hawaii residents are familiar with the iconic King Kamehameha statue opposite ‘Iolani Palace in downtown Honolulu, and the elaborate lei ceremony that takes place June 11 in honor of King Kamehameha Day. However, there is another significant statue on Oahu that celebrates a momentous anniversary on this date – the “Silent Messenger” statue fronting Shriners Hospitals for Children — Honolulu.

The statue was inspired by a news photograph taken of a Shriner carrying a young patient and her crutches at a local festival in Evansville, Indiana, on June 11, 1970.

Known as the “Editorial Without Words,” this image has grown to become an iconic symbol of the Shriners fraternity and its dedication to its greatest philanthropy – Shriners Hospitals for Children.

In true Hawaii fashion, staff from the Honolulu Shriners Hospital held a lei ceremony of their own the morning of June 11, with a custom-made garland from Lei Pāpahi and a plumeria wreath strung by an employee, both created to mark the special occasion.

Although modeled after this image, the Honolulu Shriners Hospital statue differs from others in the Shriners Hospitals for Children system. If you look closely, you’ll notice that the Shriner is depicted wearing an aloha shirt, rather than a suit, and that the child has a hibiscus in her hair. The child also wears a handmade lei.

Also unique to the Honolulu location is the rock fountain upon which the statue sits. This feature was commissioned specifically for the Honolulu Shriners Hospital by the late Watters O. Martin Sr., who was a longtime Noble (member of Shriners International), donor and supporter of the hospital. The fountain was dedicated in his honor on Jan. 28, 2012.

Shriners Hospitals for Children — Honolulu holds ties to Hawaiian royalty, as well. King David Kalākaua was a Shriner, and is the only king ever to be a Noble. Kings Kamehameha IV and Kamehameha V were Masons, which is a prerequisite to becoming a Shriner. Although the Aloha Shriners fraternity did not yet exist during their reigns, these ali‘i (kings) certainly would have become Shriners had it been an option.

Lei ceremonyStatue with leis