RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Members of the public and government officials joined police officers yesterday outside the Honolulu Fire Department's headquarters on South Street in an observance of the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C.
A walk to remember
Government officials and the public take to the streets to honor 9/11 victims and rescue crews
About 500 public safety workers, residents and local and state leaders yesterday walked in memory of the victims of Sept. 11, 2001, and to honor those who came to their aid.
Mayor Mufi Hannemann and Gov. Linda Lingle led the walk from the Honolulu Police Department on South Beretania Street to Honolulu Hale.
Hannemann said the 9/11 attacks "will certainly leave an indelible imprint on our minds and our hearts of how fortunate we are to have people who are willing to sacrifice their lives."
Lingle thanked the emergency responders for the work they do every day, "not knowing if you'll return."
Honolulu's walk, "Honolulu Remembers ... Never Forget," coincided with more than 120 similar walks in 50 states this weekend and today to commemorate the first responders and victims.
"This is a tradition now that is growing throughout the United States," Hannemann said during the service at Honolulu Hale. "We can all pay tribute and pay homage to those who lost their lives."
Celtic Pipes and Drums of Hawaii, a musical group with 11 pipes and three drums, led the walk, which started at 6:30 p.m.
The group led off with "America the Beautiful" and continued with a mix of traditional and patriotic tunes.
Shannon Williams, second from left, and her daughter Molly, of Norfolk, Va., laid a flower yesterday at the Pentagon's Sept. 11, 2001, memorial at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va.
At least one family member of a victim with a tie to Hawaii attended the walk.
Jack Miller, father of Laurie Laychak-Cheraq, a 1980 Hawaii Baptist Academy graduate whose husband died in the Pentagon attack, was in the crowd, Hannemann said.
Some brought their own flashlights for the walk. The walk was a good way to remind Americans about what happened five years ago, some participants said.
"It's very important because people tend to forget. We need to remember what happened, why it happened and to make sure we learn the lesson so that this never happens again," said Sri Chakravarthy, 36, a consultant living downtown.
Emergency vehicles led the hour-long walk with red and flashing blue lights. About 25 uniformed police officers marched along with other federal responders, including members of the Federal Fire Department, the Honolulu Fire Department, emergency medical personnel and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
After a ceremony at Police Department headquarters, Hannemann led the walk to Fire Department headquarters for another ceremony.
Shortly after dusk, marchers filled two lanes of Punchbowl for nearly the entire block between Queen Street and Halekauwila Street.
Other first responders as well as community members joined the walk. One of them was Deputy Police Chief Paul Putzulu, brother-in-law of Michael Collins, who was in the North Tower of the World Trade Center when it collapsed.
The walk continued to the Prince Kuhio Federal Building and ended with a service at Honolulu Hale, where the Royal Hawaiian Band performed and a wreath was presented in memory of the victims.
At Honolulu Hale, city officials also recognized city Emergency Services Department workers for their duty as first responders.
Honolulu's walk follows a nationwide movement of "freedom walks" modeled after the America Supports You Freedom Walk in Washington, D.C., which began last Sept. 11 and drew about 15,000 walkers.
The Department of Defense launched the nationwide program, America Supports You, in November 2004 to display America's support for the U.S. armed forces.