Friday, September 12, 2003

The September 11 attacks: Two years later

Hawaii joined in remembering the Sept. 11, 2001, anniversary yesterday. Above, Glorita Soriano, Mele Manuel, Letty Batara and Juana Barit were part of a candlelight vigil at Queen's Beach in Waikiki last night.

Isle officials
mark unity born
of tragedy

Residents of all ages
observe and reflect
on the 9/11 attacks

Whether it was with bells tolling, silent prayer or lit candles, people across the state paused yesterday to remember the victims of the worst day in modern American history.

"It's quite sad," said New Jersey native Nicole Stalter, recalling friends who lost their parents when terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center. "It will be with me for the rest of my life," she said at a ceremony at Chaminade University.

Some of those who paid tribute to the more than 3,000 victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks said they evaluated their own lives and gained an appreciation for their families and their own mortality.

"I'm grateful for what I have now," said Tui Tuiasosopo, an eighth-grader at Saint Louis School.

The Rev. Ken Templin, of the Chaminade University Campus Ministry, reflected on the tragedy among hundreds of students who attended a prayer service at the grassy oval area of Saint Louis School and Chaminade.

"We are a world that longs for peace not just in America, but in all the troubled parts of the world. We long for a time of freedom from fear, the end of bombs and war machinery, the end of violence and the oppression of all peoples," said Templin. "Peace comes when we make it happen."

Students had a moment of silence at Chaminade University and Saint Louis School.

Other ceremonies were held throughout the state at churches, schools and military installations.

Gov. Linda Lingle used a radio and television broadcast to lead Hawaii residents in a moment of silence. And at the state Capitol, the Liberty Bell rang four times at 8:46 a.m. to represent the four hijacked planes that crashed on Sept. 11, 2001.

"The basic message is that we remember what happened two years ago," said Senate President Robert Bunda. "This is going to last a long time. ... The wound, it's going to be long in healing."

Later, Mayor Jeremy Harris, police and fire officials placed two wreaths and staked a line of miniature American flags in front of the Eternal Flame monument, which was placed in front of Honolulu Hale in November 2001 as a 9/11 memorial.

Most could not believe that the United States would be a target of such a diabolical act, Harris said.

He said the city is as "well prepared as possible as a city could be" for a bioterror attack.

Harris also noted that the tragedy only strengthened the relationship between people. "Terrorists then sought to divide our country by attacking. All they accomplished was to unite our country."

Col. William Kunzweiler, 15th Airlift Wing Vice Commander at Hickam Air Force Base, addressed those who attended a ceremony where military officials performed a 21-gun salute.

At Kaneohe Marine Corps Base Hawaii, a ceremony honored heroes and mourned victims of the attack. Officials laid a wreath at the Pacific War Memorial located at the entrance of the base.

New York patrol officer John DiCarlantonio, who helped evacuate people from the buildings, and Marine Lance Cpl. Michael Tobey, who was injured in the war in Iraq, spoke at the ceremony.

In Waikiki, Aston Hotels organized a candlelight vigil after sunset that was attended by about 80 people.

Tusisaleia "Hope" Pomele, a junior at Farrington High School and vice president of the National Student Council-Hawaii Chapter, organized a morning assembly.

Students wore temporary tattoos with two blue lines that represented the day and the twin towers. Pomele said the tattoos symbolized his "Sept. 11 generation" and represented heroism and unity.

"We're living through this right now. ... It's something that will affect us for the rest of our lives. We are the ones that are going to grow from it," she added.

During lunch break, hundreds of students signed a banner that is slated to be sent to New York.

Pomele said the attacks led her to cherish her friends and family, making sure she tells her mother she loves her before she heads to school.

"You don't know if that's the last time you're going to see them," she said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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