to the Editor

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Let courage, conviction and
commitment guide America

On Sept. 11, 2001, people of another country entered ours with the express purpose of killing our people and destroying our property. They commandeered four of our jetliners with the intention of using them as missiles. Three of those aircraft were used against us with devastating effect.

We Remember

The one bright moment on that miserable day occurred when several Americans on board United Airlines Flight 93 decided to engage the marauders in hand-to-hand combat. Those Americans decided on their own that those terrorists were not going to have their way. What finally brought that airliner to Earth does not matter, but the fact that those terrorists were opposed matters a great deal. Explaining feats of courage, Adm. William F. "Bull" Halsey once said, "There are no heroes, only ordinary men who rise to the occasion."

America has never suffered a lack of brave men, but courage is not enough. We also need conviction, the belief that what we do is right, even if innocent people die; and we need commitment, so we move without hesitation.

Why should we do anything? Why should we risk our lives?

During the Revolutionary War, Patrick Henry asked, "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!"

During the Thousand Days of Camelot, John Kennedy told us, "Ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country."

During the Civil War, there was a terrible battle at Gettysburg in which 50,000 men gave their lives. President Lincoln was deeply moved and felt the need to explain to the people why even such terrible losses were justified.

Lincoln journeyed to Gettysburg and delivered the greatest speech in American history. What he said served as the reason for every war that the United States has fought since.

Lincoln said: "That from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that the dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

God bless America.

Alex P.S. Furubayashi

Teenager sent pillows stuffed with aloha

As we reflect on last year's tragedy, one young teenage girl from Kealakekua has put her grief into action.

Last year, Kristin Kitaoka, the Hawaii representative to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Young Women's Health Summit, wanted to show her aloha to the families of the victims of the 9/11 disaster. She decided to spearhead a Hawaiian-print pillow project. With the help of Congresswoman Patsy Mink, the Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women, 4-H groups, American Red Cross of Hawaii, Kona Hongwanji Buddhist Church, Kona WalMart, Kona Lion's Club, West Hawaii Bar Association, and Hawaii County Committee on the Status of Women, this Konawaena High School student made 150 Hawaiian print-pillows and sent them to Leckie Elementary School in D.C., the Pentagon and New York City. Many of the pillows had personal notes or pictures from Kona children.

Kristin Kitaoka put together this project because she wanted families of the victims to know Hawaii sent its love and aloha to them. She did this in her own quiet way, with no publicity.

As we remember the victims of Sept. 11, Hawaii can be proud that we have teenagers like Kristin who care about our nation and who act upon that love for America.

Margaret K. Masunaga
Captain Cook, Hawaii

The banner yet waves from the overpass

I must drive more than an hour each way to work, but this mundane task of the last 35 years now has new sparkle.

This sparkle I speak of happens every day as I pass under the Makakilo Drive overpass, where I see a beautiful sight: Waving from a makeshift pipe mounted against the highway guardrail is our stars and stripes. It came up shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, and was replaced when it became weatherbeaten.

When I first saw it, at the peak of my emotional turmoil after the attack, it gave me chicken skin. It really did! It reminded me of what the flag stands for -- this proud and brave nation, which will not kneel or succumb to such inhumane tactics. It is a symbol of a nation, and though it's not perfect, I and millions of others can attest without hesitation, "America no ka oi" and "the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave, o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!"

As I approached the flag I was compelled to salute it and the person who erected and maintains it. Thank you, and God bless America!

David Y. Nakayama
Pearl City

We have moral duty to fight terrorism

In the war on terrorism there can be no substitute for victory. We must fight our enemies with the same ruthlessness and single-mindedness they have already demonstrated.

If we are not willing to do this, they have already won.

We owe it to those who died Sept. 11, 2001, and to all those who died in the past to secure our freedom for us. We owe it to those yet unborn who will inherit the result of our efforts.

Remember the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and let's roll.

Dan Carson

We Remember

How to write us

The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (150 to 200 words). 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 and include a daytime telephone number.

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Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI 96813

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