Isles on alertTerror and disbelief quickly spread to Hawaii early this morning, as recurring television replays showed the twin towers of the World Trade Center first exploding, then collapsing in a cloud of dust and mayhem.
in wake of tragedy
Military bases are restricted,
flights are halted and hundreds
line up to give blood
All military bases here were restricted; the Prince Kuhio federal building was closed; all civil defense and emergency personnel were put on alert; and all flights out of Honolulu Airport were immediately canceled.
Although most public schools were open, those on military bases were shut down, as were public schools on the Big Island, by order of Big Island Mayor Harry Kim.
But even as the nation reeled from the unprecedented peacetime attack, the best of human nature also kicked in. In a call for blood donations, hundreds of people immediately responded.
By mid-morning, the line of people waiting to donate blood at the Blood Bank of Hawaii's main center, at 2043 Dillingham Blvd., stretched "a mile long," according to one observer.
Gov. Ben Cayetano ordered the state flag flown at half staff at all state buildings to mourn the thousands killed in the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York City; the attack on the Pentagon; and a related plane crash near Pittsburgh.
Ala Moana Center, the state's largest mall, also was closed in honor of the dead.
Hawaii's military, meanwhile, was put on its highest threat alert -- Threat Condition Delta.
From Washington, Hawaii Congressman Daniel Akaka released a statement saying, "We, as a people, are united behind the president and we will get to the bottom of this attack and bring those responsible to justice."
Akaka and other members of Congress were briefed by federal officials about the attack after they were evacuated from the nation's capital, said Akaka's spokesman Paul Cardus.
Meanwhile, two of Honolulu's largest stock brokerages were contending with the World Trade Center disaster both professionally and personally.
Morgan Stanley Group Inc. was to close its five local offices at 2 p.m. today, largely as a result in the halt in trading worldwide. The terrorist attack destroyed the firm's retail offices, which occupied 50 floors in the World Trade Center. Morgan Stanley was the trade center's largest tenant.
Paul Loo, senior vice president and branch manager of Morgan Stanley's operations, said the local office will largely be open to field questions from anxious customers. He said the company would reopen tomorrow. Loo said the company did not have an estimate of the casualties involved, but noted that many of the employees on Morgan Stanley's top floor -- the 74th floor -- were able to get out of the building.
Merrill Lynch also closed all its Hawaii offices. Its New York headquarters is across the street from the World Trade Center's twin towers.
In Honolulu, Mayor Jeremy Harris activated the city's Emergency Operating Center at 4:30 a.m.
"Although there has been no hint of an attack here, all of our emergency services people are in place," Harris said. "We are at the same level of readiness that we were for the Asian Development Bank meeting."
Civil defense agencies in all four counties were coordinating efforts with the state Civil Defense Agency.
Although state and city offices, including the University of Hawaii and state courts, were open today, the federal building was closed to the public and nonessential employees, said an official with the FBI, one of the agencies that was staffed today.
"We're just standing by to see what we can do," FBI spokesman Max Marker said. "We've got a command post up and we're evaluating and monitoring the situation.
"The bureau's going to be here all day working, you can be sure of that."
Department of Education spokesman Greg Knudsen said school officials would understand if some families felt compelled to keep their children at home.
"If some feel they need to stay home with their families, I think this is the kind of situation where we'll just kind of have to go with what people decide on a personal level," he said. "We are hoping to maintain as much normalcy as possible and feel that having the schools open will provide some level of support to students. Certainly people are going to have to talk this out with friends, teachers."
Knudsen said all nine schools on military bases on Oahu -- Hale Kula, Solomon, Wheeler, Shafter, Mokapu, Iroquois Point, Hickam and Mokulele elementary schools and Wheeler Intermediate School -- were closed. (Makalapa Elementary School in Salt Lake also remained closed for a second day, due to an unrelated incident.)
These were among the places closed today after the attacks on the mainland:
>> All Hawaii airports
>> Public schools on Oahu military bases: Hale Kula Elementary School, Solomon Elementary School, Wheeler Elementary School, Shafter Elementary School and Mokapu Elementary School
>> All Big Island public schools
>> University of Hawaii-Hilo
>> Hawaii Community Colleges
>> Ala Moana Shopping Center
>> The Aloha Tower observation deck (the Marketplace is open)
>> Military museums around Pearl Harbor (USS Arizona Memorial, USS Battleship Missouri Memorial, Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park)
>> All federal buildings and courthouses (except for essential employees)
>> Social Security offices in Guam, Saipan and American Samoa
A+ after-school care and extracurricular activities were also canceled at the closed schools. The schools would likely remain closed for as long as the bases were on full alert, Knudsen said.
The terrorist attacks also affected visitors to the state's major shopping mall.
"(Management), out of respect for the national tragedy, is closing the (Ala Moana) shopping center," said Ersel Kilburn, vice president of operations for General Growth Management of Hawaii, Inc., which manages the mall.
Ala Moana was the only major shopping center on Oahu that shut down this morning. Officials at Windward Mall, Pearlridge Center and Kahala Mall said stores at those locations would open. Aloha Tower Marketplace kept shops open, but closed its observation tower.
Ala Moana Center, with more than 200 stores, attracts 56 million shoppers each year. Kilburn had no estimate on how many visitors would be affected or how closing for a day might affect merchants.
At Honolulu Airport, the scene was described as orderly, with more airline and airport employees in the terminals than travelers. It was obvious that most travelers knew there would be no flights out today and did not go to the airport.
Security officials were not letting vehicles stop or park in the terminal areas, except to load or unload passengers.
One traveler who did not get the word was Marie De La Giraudaie of Vancouver, Canada, who arrived for a scheduled 6:10 a.m. Canada 3000 flight home. "I had no idea," she said, already unhappy and uncomfortable because she broke her foot a few days ago. "I think it's crazy."
State transportation spokeswoman Marilyn Kali said Honolulu Airport averages about 1,000 takeoffs and landings a day. No mainland flights came in today and the Federal Aviation Administration immediately restricted all takeoffs following the attacks.
Although some flights -- including six Japan Airlines planes from Japan -- were turned back, a total of 21 international arrivals, past the halfway point, were allowed to proceed to Honolulu for landing.
Meanwhile, the call went out locally for people to donate blood, which could be used here or shipped as necessary to Washington and New York. Blood Bank of Hawaii is a member of America's Blood Centers, a national network of independent blood banks.
To make an appointment to donate, call 845-9966. The blood bank's center at 126 Queen St. was open until 2 p.m. today, while the main center at 2043 Dillingham Blvd. was to remain open until 5 p.m. The hours may be extended upon demand.
"Any excess blood from one area can be directed to places in need. And New York and Washington are definitely in need right now," said Lauren Ward-Larsen, a Colorado-based volunteer for America's Blood Centers.
Star-Bulletin reporters Helen Altonn, Richard Borreca,
Rick Daysog, Christine Donnelly, Gregg Kakesako,
Russ Lynch, Gordon Pang and B.J. Reyes contributed
to this report. It was written by reporter June Watanabe.