RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Capt. Keoni Kino of Honolulu Fire Department Ladder 2 placed a flag at the 9/11 memorial in front of Honolulu Hale during the third annual commemoration of the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
Isles reflect on
bond to tragedy
Among the tributes is a lei
procession by Kaiser High students
They walked in single file, most still with musical instruments in hand.
Once the 120 members of the Kaiser High School band -- just back from the Aloha Festivals parade -- got to the top of a hill near the school's administration building yesterday, each took a lei from around their necks and placed it on a memorial for 1993 Kaiser graduate Maile Hale, killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
The small ceremony for Hale, who died at the World Trade Center, was one of many across the state yesterday, as residents remembered the day terrorism hit home.
At Honolulu Hale, firefighters and police officers gathered to mark the solemn anniversary and place two wreathes at the city's Eternal Flame. Small flags were put into the ground at the memorial's base, and a prayer was said for lives lost.
"Three years ago, 3,000 lives were cut short by the terrorist attacks in New York and at the Pentagon," said city Managing Director Ben Lee. "Our hearts and our prayers go out to the families of those lost."
A light rain fell as Curtis Kekuna, senior pastor at Kawaiahao Church, led a prayer for the attacks' victims.
"Let us never, never ever forget," he said.
MARY VORSINO / MVORSINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Keala Ferreira and Kevin Yang put leis on a memorial yesterday for Maile Hale, a 1993 Kaiser High School graduate who was killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Kaiser High School band members have made it a tradition to put their leis on the memorial, which sits near the administration building at the school.
Nearby, Fire Battalion Chief Ronald Rico stood at attention and remembered where he was three years before.
"It was a beautiful day in the morning," he said. Rico was vacationing in Washington, D.C., and had been visiting the Capitol with his wife. The two were standing on the Capitol's steps, ready to head over to another sightseeing stop, when they saw a wide plume of smoke coming from the Pentagon.
It looked like a gas fire, Rico said.
"It was just incredible to see something like that happening ... It was kind of surreal."
Few attended yesterday's ceremony at city hall, but some passersby stopped to watch.
Among them was Corinne Arakawa, who went through much of yesterday without remembering the anniversary.
She had just visited her uncle at the Queen's Medical Center and was planning to head to a movie when she came across the ceremony. Once she saw the flags and the flowers, memories of Sept. 11 came flooding back.
"It was just so devastating," she said. "It really was the first attack on America."
At Kaiser High School, 10th-grader Keala Ferreira was one of the last students to place his lei at Hale's memorial. He said it doesn't matter that he never knew the 1993 Kaiser valedictorian, a vice president of Boston Investor Services.
"It's just a sign of respect," he said.
Classmate Emily Mishina nodded her head as Ferreira spoke, while pouring bottled water on the lei to keep them fresh.
"It does affect you," she said. "It's a day to remember."
Before the band members set out for the Aloha Parade, they observed a moment of silence for Hale and the thousands of others who lost their lives on Sept. 11.
It's the second year in a row the band has done so, and then put their lei at Hale's memorial.
Band Director Michael Bataluna said that before the 2001 attacks, seniors would give their lei to freshmen as a welcoming gesture. Freshmen would then give lei to seniors as a farewell.
But in 2002, seniors decided to give lei to Hale. And everybody followed suit.
"It was very moving," said Justin Mew, a parent volunteer.
Honolulu Community College instructor Danny Aiu also started a tradition after Sept. 11. For the past three years, his sheet metal and plastics students have created two large metal flags which are then displayed at the college's mall.
He said the flags will be given to any interested nonprofit. Those interested in getting a flag should contact Aiu at 845-9237.
Isle victims of 9/11 attacks
Hawaii residents killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were:
>> Georgine Rose Corrigan, Honolulu antiques and collectibles dealer, was on United Airlines Flight 93 from Newark, N.J., when hijackers took over the plane and it crashed near Pittsburgh.
>> Patricia Colodner, an executive secretary for Marsh & McLennan in the World Trade Center.
>> Maile Hale, 1993 valedictorian at Kaiser High School, vice president of Boston Investor Services, was attending a conference at the Windows on the World atop the World Trade Center.
>> Heather Ho, executive pastry chef at the Windows on the World restaurant. She was on the 107th floor of the north tower of the trade center. The 1987 Punahou School graduate had just taken the position in New York in May.
>> Richard Y.C. Lee, a 1986 Punahou School graduate, was vice president and director of equities technology for Cantor Fitzgerald e-speed, located on the 103rd floor of Tower One.
>> Christine Snyder, Outdoor Circle arborist and Aikahi Park resident, was also on United Flight 93.