to the Editor

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Wednesday, September 19, 2001

Remember 9-11-01

Readers react to
Attack on America

Tourists may need Hawaii more than ever

As I read about Hawaii tourism being adversely affected by the terrorist attacks on the mainland, I can't help but think it may be exactly the opposite. If I were a mainland tourist thinking of a getaway trip and looking for destination, Hawaii might be my best bet.

As a terrorist target, Hawaii has little value. We don't have any high-profile structures like the Golden Gate Bridge or a Disneyland. We're so far from the mainland that any plane coming here is arrives with empty fuel tanks. Any plane leaving here will have empty fuel tanks by the time it gets anywhere.

As for bombs here, what is there to attack? We're benign, which is wonderful.

U.S. travelers don't like foreign destinations as they're questionable as far as security at airports. We're in the United States. The next closest thing to us is Las Vegas and they're, in some way, high profile. We're alohaland, not Sin City or Disneyland.

I think this is an opportunity to "show and tell" and we'll be the winners. For so many years we've been selling a land without gaming, a land without neon lights, a land of simplicity. This may be a perfect time to actually make some money off of our simplicity and aloha.

Brother Greg O'Donnell
President and CEO
Damien Memorial High School

Humanitarian aid is best retaliation

I understand the calls for forceful "retaliation" against terrorists and those that harbor them. But I have a powerful alternative: an immediate humanitarian grant to Afghanistan of $5 billion -- pick your figure -- in the form of food, medical supplies, engineering expertise. (Not money. We don't want to support arms build-ups.)

Military strikes would play into the terrorists' hands -- providing "proof" of "evil American aggression." Sure, I want to get to bin Laden and other terrorists. But with U.S. missiles?

The Marshall Plan, in rebuilding Europe after World War II, illustrated the peace-building power of foreign aid. In fact, while we're aiding Afghanistan -- a nation devastated by a decade of Soviet incursion and continuing civil war -- why not also help other needy Mideast nations?

Humanitarian aid could be structured to go directly to the Afghani people rather than the oppressive Taliban regime. If the Taliban blocked the aid, they would be showing their true colors for the world to see.

The only risk in aiding Afghanistan is the financial cost. Meanwhile, as the world considers the hawkish rhetoric from America, they might come to perceive us as a nation truly caring about human needs.

Kit Smith


"Hawaii has to be hurt to some unknown degree by tourist interruption of some indeterminable length."

Dave Zerfoss

Bank of Hawaii senior vice president, on the uncertain effect on Hawaii tourism of the airliner hijackings by terrorists last week.

"I just stood in front of that wall with all the names for a while. Then you look at the flag, and you're just happy to be an American."

Jennifer Scott

Visitor from Oregon, describing her feelings after seeing the Arizona Memorial, six days after terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Attacks should not curb our liberties

True Americans should not allow this terrorist attacks to lessen our own freedoms. We should not allow this tragedy to lessen our privacy or respect for religious beliefs and personal liberties.

Jewish Americans and Japanese Americans should remember their past and support Arab Americans. It might be a good idea to see a movie called "The Siege." It is a good comment on the danger of becoming what we most despise.

Although America's history is filled with contradictions, true Americans always stand up for what is right and are even ready to die for what is right.

Adam Pellegrin

America inspires Canadian blessing

Right now there are tears in my eyes. I want to share with others my reflections on this horrible act of war on America. I want to pay tribute to those innocents who have died and to salute New York's "finest" -- the firefighters and police.

More than 40 years ago as a young boy I read a biography of Abraham Lincoln. His life inspired in me a life-long affinity for America and all that it stands for. I love America, and believe it is the greatest republic in the history of the world.

The attack on America is one of the darkest moments in history. It stands there in monumental magnitude with the Civil War that Abraham Lincoln faced and with Pearl Harbor that Franklin Roosevelt faced. It is always darkest before the dawn and my heart and prayers go out to President Bush as he leads the free world at this tragic time in history.

Watching these events unfold on television, I feel a sense of being helpless, yet I have a firm confidence in leaders like President Bush. I believe Secretary of State Colin Powell when he says, "There will be a worldwide war on terrorism."

More Americans died on Tuesday than at Pearl Harbor in 1941. My heart goes out to all those American families who lost those they love. It is my prayer that they will not have died for nothing.

Abraham Lincoln in the immortal Gettysburg Address said: "...we resolve that these dead shall have not died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

I know Lincoln's words at Gettysburg will once again ring true. From Canada I say: God bless America!

Michael McCafferty
Regina, Saskatchewan

Canadians feel grief, support for Americans

I want to tell your readers how sad Canadians are for you in the recent terrorist attacks on your country. We are also appalled to hear that innocent Muslims in Canada, the United States and indeed around the world are being blamed by a few cretins with a personal agenda because those Muslims are perceived for having collective responsibility for those criminal acts.

We also ask your indulgence for our own prime minister, Jean Chretien, who has been so slow and befuddled when it comes to offering unequivocal support in this new fight against terrorism. Where are the Roosevelts or Churchills when we really need them?

Your country must know that Canadians are prepared to stand shoulder to shoulder now as we have in the past no matter where the trail leads. It is just that, like your government, here in Canada sometimes those we have elected to lead us forget that when they are slow to react it is often others who pay the price.

Jim McCurdy
Calgary, Alberta

Letter guidelines

The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point on issues of public interest. The Star-Bulletin reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed, must include a mailing address and daytime telephone number.

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