Never the same

Nearly a year after the terrorist
attacks on America, the struggle for
understanding and security continues

Memorial services
Isle residents feel safe

By Cynthia Oi

On a humid summer afternoon, a few days before the start of a new school year, Kiki, Louisa and Lana are sipping smoothies at a sidewalk table outside Jamba Juice, chatting away in the sing-song tonalities girls seem to adopt in their teenage years.

We Remember

They are as carefree as upper middle-class children can be. The concern of the moment is the ugly color of Kiki's cell phone.

"It was my mom's. I keep trying to, like, break it, like, drop it on the ground. It's too strong!" she laments.

Her friends commiserate briefly; then the talk turns to clothes, boys, hair, nails, handbags and clothes again.

Far from their minds is the approaching one-year anniversary of Sept. 11. At first, Louisa appears puzzled when she hears the date, then she remembers. "Oh, yeah. It was on TV forever when that terrorist thing happened."

For people in Hawaii and the rest of America, the fierce concussion of "that terrorist thing" reverberates unabated through life, even though some, like the teenage trio, may have swept it to the depths of consciousness or pushed away the menace as momentary.

Still, the remains of that day are dusted through the nation's global politics and relations and its domestic agendas. Trite as it may sound, it is true that America and its people will never be the same.

Yet, there is resilience, an abiding force to keep going. Part of that comes with the manner of dealing with the still-unsettled concoction of confusion, fear and anger that engulfed Americans immediately after the attacks. The helplessness then appears transformed now to fatalism, a feeling that whatever happens happens and a single person has little power to sway events.

That would be a mistaken notion. If anything, Sept. 11 should invigorate people to participate and engage, says Dr. Anthony Marsella, a professor of psychology at the University of Hawaii. Coping with calamity may understandably involve repression for some. Others may choose to remember and sharpen their understanding of why it happened, he says.

"It is important that we keep alive the events of that day and try to understand what caused them and their immediate and long-term consequences," Marsella says. "There is no substitute for citizen involvement in these times."

That realization has struck a number of young people. Marsella, who also teaches classes in humanitarian assistance, says many students have re-evaluated their career choices, leaving the money-oriented for human-service pursuits.

The idea is intriguing older people as well. The attacks have spurred John Bush, a manager for a hardware store, to schedule his retirement and return to school to study social services. He also will travel, not so much for pleasure as for learning.

"I want to attempt to understand more about other people in other parts of the world. I want to examine and explore religion, other thoughts."

Terrorism lingers along the periphery of Eloise Nakama's mind. She thinks about biological attacks that could affect more people for longer periods of time than jets used as missiles.

Her unease has built further as she sees the government's recent moves toward war against Iraq and the lack of a cohesive policy in dealing with the conflicts in the Middle East.

Her son, 17 at the time of the attacks, had just registered with selective service along with his friends. The attacks toppled their stability.

"For them, they grew up when things were good. They thought, 'Oh, now what?' What's in their future?"

The insecurity burrows beyond external strife. The government's shaving of civil rights and its calls for citizens to take note of suspicious behavior among themselves trigger hesitancy to criticize President Bush's administration publicly.

One well-learned and intelligent man who denounced America's foreign and domestic policies, apprehensively retracted his remarks a day later. Others talked freely about personal experiences but did not want critical observations recorded.

One woman recalls that the surge of patriotic displays in flags, pins, T-shirt and red-white-and-blue whatnots disgusted her. "It was patriotism on the cheap," she says.

"I had no quarrel with doing that, but how many of those who waved the flag take part in things that really matter? Do they keep track of what's going on in Congress, what our country's policies are? Do they even vote? Because that's what patriotism really means." Blinking after her tirade, she pauses and asks that her name not be used.

Homeland security measures -- the airport searches and border checkpoints -- infuses people with a false sense of well-being, Nakama says. "People can still get through, like that woman with the gun the other day."

A huge banner was hoisted up yesterday at the building at 90 West St., overlooking the World Trade Center disaster site. The building, located on the southern end of ground zero, was badly damaged from the collapse of the south tower.

More worrisome, says Marsella, is the return of apathy. "There's a value to understanding what was a defining event of our times and to keep this before us as a sense of the new challenges in a global environment."

He hopes Sept. 11 kindled an awareness that America does not stand alone on Earth. "There remains a need for greater comprehension of cultural differences of our global community."

As for changes in his life, Marsella voices what many others say.

"The event made me more aware than ever before about the fragility of human relationships."

Nakama works at being optimistic. Every morning on the drive to her Moiliili office, she takes note of the beauty of the day.

"I consciously remind myself to look around and say we are so lucky to live here.

"I appreciate what I have. I don't put things off, especially for my family. I don't say, 'Oh, no, how about tomorrow.' Tomorrow might have been Sept. 11."

Store manager Bush calls himself "thrifty," but since last year he spends money more freely, especially on gifts for his family.

"I'm not an easy person to get along with. But I've tried to be a more compassionate person and take other people into consideration."

Acknowledging that troubles in the Middle East are tied to America's dependence on foreign oil, he's made a small change: At least twice a week, he leaves his car at home and walks to work.

"We need to get ourselves so we don't have to depend on them for oil."

Lana, Louisa and Kiki don't drive and don't pay the utility bills. Despite their initial blasé pose, they are quite aware of the reconfiguration of life. Their parents seem to be more concerned about where they go and with whom, sensitized by the attacks, the anthrax scares that followed and, more recently, by what seems like a flush of child kidnappings.

Although they speak willingly at first, they balk when asked their last names, then turn wary when they realize they are talking with a stranger. After a few pensive moments, however, the sanguinity that befits their age permits them to relax, laugh and kid each other again.

Smoothies finished, they check lipstick, hair and halter tops for perfection, and blithely step forward to the rhythm of life.

We Remember



Hawaii remembers

There are several memorial services scheduled to remember those killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. All of the events listed below are set for Wednesday, the anniversary of the attacks.


The governor and the four county mayors are inviting everyone statewide to participate.

At 10:05 a.m. there will be a bell ringing ceremony. That is to be followed by a moment of silence at 10:06 a.m.


A commemorative Day of Remembrance; National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl, 2177 Puowaina Drive, Honolulu. 5 to 6 p.m.

The event will honor those who perished in the terror attack, and salute the members of the city, state and military engaged in the war against terrorism. There will be speeches by the mayor, the governor, and the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command.

Free parking and bus transportation will be available. Buses will depart the Alapai Street bus yard every 15 minutes starting at 3:30 p.m. and will return after the ceremony concludes.

Free parking is available at the Honolulu Municipal Building parking lot.


"Not in our Name: A Candlelight Vigil and Procession in Remembrance of All the Victims of the World."

The event starts at 5 p.m. At 6:30 p.m. there will be a candle lighting ceremony fronting the Halekauwila Street entrance to the building. At 7 p.m. there will be a procession to Iolani Palace where a short program of speakers, music and poetry will be held.

Attendees are encouraged to bring a candle and wear green for peace and black for remembrance and mourning.

The event is sponsored by Hawaii Ad Hoc Committee for Peace and co-sponsored by other peace groups.


Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris, the Honolulu Fire Department, the Honolulu Police Department and the Department of Emergency Services are sponsoring a ceremony to commemorate the first anniversary of the attacks from 9:45 to 10:45 a.m.

A moment of silence will be observed at 10:05 a.m. and at 10:28 a.m., the times that the World Trade Center's South Tower and North Tower collapsed, respectively.

Firefighters will observe the moment of silence at their respective fire stations by standing in formation. Where possible, fire engines will be located outside the stations.


Marine Corps Base Hawaii will hold a Remembrance ceremony at the Pacific War Memorial at 6 p.m. The event is open to the public.

Brig. Gen. Jerry C. McAbee, Commanding General, MCBH, will be the keynote speaker. The ceremony will feature patriotic music performed by the Marine Forces Pacific Band.

Base officials ask that anyone who lost friends or family in the attack to contact the public affairs office at 257-8840 for reservations.


Kawaiahao Church will participate in a global "Rolling Requiem" that will involve 160 choirs in 20 times zones. Each group around the world will perform Mozart's "Requiem" at 8:46 a.m., the time that a hijacked airline crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

Some 115 singers from various local groups will join together as the Masterworks Chorale under direction of Susan Duprey for the performance. The event is open to the public.


Hawaii Pacific University invites the public to join with staff, faculty and students as they gather to reflect and offer a moment of silence to pay tribute to the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks. The 20-minute gathering at the mauka end of Fort Street Mall will take place at 11:15 a.m. with singing, prayer and words of reflection offered by students and faculty.


The "Peace Circle" event will pay respect to those to terror and war through drumming, dancing and singing.

The event runs from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Everyone is invited to bring a percussion instrument, their voice, dancing shoes and a chair.


The Kailua hospital will hold a short service on the lawn near the flag poles at noon. Chaplain Larry Huston will lead a prayer, followed by a moment of silence and a musical commemoration by the Celtic Pipes and Drums. The event is open to the public.


Maui County is sponsoring "An Evening of Honor, Healing and Hope", at War Memorial Stadium from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m., gates open 5 p.m.

The free event will honor active and veteran military organizations, fire, police, emergency services and Red Cross personnel. Willie K will headline the entertainment. Attendees are asked to bring canned goods, a non-perishable food item or a monetary donation for the Maui Food Bank.

We Remember

E-mail to City Desk


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2002 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --