Friday, September 21, 2001

Remember 9-11-01

Hawaii Dems in Congress
applaud Bush’s remarks

Inouye calls the speech
'President Bush's finest hour'

Isle Residents React

By Richard Borreca

It was the ultimate compliment paid by Hawaii's top Democrat, U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye.

Minutes after listening to President Bush's address to a joint session of Congress, Inouye said, "He is my president."

"This was our commander in chief's clarion call for national unity. It was, without question, President Bush's finest hour," Inouye said.

The Republican president's speech last night won strong praise from Hawaii's all-Democratic congressional delegation.

"He was very clear in this speech, unlike others in the past. His words were very carefully selected," Inouye said. "It was the speech he wanted the world to hear."

U.S. Rep. Patsy Mink said Bush spoke to "the fears and concerns of the ordinary American citizen."

"He did a good and excellent job," Mink said. "He spoke honestly to the American people."

"I have no idea what we will be facing in the immediate future," she added. "It is a very wide vista, and it is important to remain calm."

Inouye, awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor for heroism in World War II, said Bush's speech did not hide the fact that "we may have to place men in harm's way."

"He was telling us it is going to be a long struggle, and it may be painful at times," Inouye said.

U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie said he saw much of the speech as a successful attempt to "restore confidence in America."

"The most important thing is to restore confidence in the American economic and social fabric, and we are getting on with that job," Abercrombie said.

He called the speech a sobering and serious one that explained why America's involvement will be long and involved.

Abercrombie, however, focused on the domestic impact, saying he was reassured to hear Bush say he was acting quickly to restore confidence in the economy.

"I was very happy to see we would do what we can to get financial stability to the airlines," Abercrombie said. "This is what is going to help save Hawaii."

U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka was not available for comment after the speech but in a statement said, "The president took an important step toward preparing the American people for what promises to be a long and difficult engagement. Our nation is bracing for a different battle, a confrontation that requires patience and perseverance. Our leadership must be steady and our voice calm but firm."

Akaka concluded by noting, "We must not forget that our greatest strength comes from our democracy, our respect for human rights, our commitment to justice and our pursuit of peace."

[Isle Residents React]

What did you think of President Bush's speech? And what do you think America should do now?

Carrie-Ann Nakashima, Kaimuki:

"I was very moved by what he said. Very inspiring. Made me want to go out and defend my country and help in any way.

"We need to get a move on this and not let it dwindle. I'm sure the investigation is moving along and because of security they're just not telling the public about it, but it would be nice to hear something."

Alan Pearson, Hawaii Kai:

"It met the moment. It gives you a feeling that there's going to be a balance in terms of retaliation. It's not going to be just a massive, aggressive approach, but it's going to be balanced and calculated.

"I think that it's probably appropriate to be conscientious and not take such an aggressive role. I think we need to retaliate, but I think it needs to be done with consciousness and with the understanding of the minds of the Muslims and their religion."

Nancy Upchurch, Waipio Gentry:

"Basically it was a pep speech, and it was more or less a warning to terrorists that we will not forget. He said we're watching, we're going to find out who's responsible. I think his first phrase, 'quiet anger,' describes what we're all feeling, and it more or less supported the need to take action.

"I think that we need to be aware that the Afghanis have been looted and pillaged. It's not their doing, but their government is definitely behind terrorism, and I think we need to hold them as culpable equally as much as bin Laden."

Alex McTeer, Kaneohe:

"It basically was a good speech. ... The only thing that concerned me was this appointment of a new Cabinet post (Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge was appointed head of the new Office of Homeland Security), which basically sounds like spying on U.S. citizens.

"I think evidence of a crime must be first addressed before you attack. I think it would be an injustice to lose more innocent lives in whatever country, Afghanistan or wherever. ... It's not a fair tradeoff. A lot of innocent lives have already been lost."

Kent Ogomori, Hawaii Kai:

"It was moving, to the point and pretty decisive.

"I think we should follow his directive. He made it really clear. He defined who the enemy is and laid out his plan of how America's going to go about taking care of business. I think it's a good plan."

Asked at Waterfront Plaza by reporter Rod Antone

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