The City and County of Honolulu conducted a remembrance ceremony for those who died in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports.
Sixteen years ago, El Qaeda terrorists hijacked four commercial jetliners on the East Coast. They flew two of the planes into the twin towers at the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon and crashed the fourth in a Pennsylvania field. Duke Snyder from Kailua has attended every 9-11 ceremony in Honolulu. He says there was no remembrance walk this year and the ceremonies appear to be diminishing with the passage of time.
“Sadly what I see right now is that a lot of young people don’t wanna even acknowledge that this ever happened. There’s not enough emphasis here in Hawai’i or on the mainland, history-wise. And the longer the years pass, it’s not as important. Not to them.”
Snyder’s son-in-law is a retired fire fighter and his daughter a flight attendant. Nearly 3-thousand people were killed and 6-thousand more injured on 9-11. Angelique Fulton was 3 when the attacks occurred.
“The only thing that I remember about it was learning about it in school. And the people and the stories they had to tell us about it. This is a part of history. It affected many people’s lives. It will always be important.”
Retired United Airlines flight attendant Geri Kai says the 9-11 ceremonies are getting shorter but like most of her colleagues she will always remember where she was and the disbelief she felt.
“We were getting ready to leave the hotel to go to the airport to come back to Honolulu. And just as I was leaving, I had the television on and I saw the twin towers and it didn’t register.”
Honolulu’s first responders: Fire, Paramedics and Police Departments along with military and airline crew representatives, placed lei before the eternal flame at Honolulu Hale. Fire Chief, Manuel Neves, says first responders in Honolulu will always take the time on September 11th to remember their fallen comrades and more activities are being planned nationally and in Honolulu.
“We’re going to start lighting up some of the buildings throughout the city and just as a remembrance for everybody that drives past, they can remember the 343 firefighters that lost their lives in 9-11.”
Honolulu Managing Director Roy Amemiya, Jr., is acting mayor during Kirk Caldwell’s trip to Japan this week. He says the remembrance walks are being scheduled at 5-year intervals with the next one in 2021. Amemiya and his wife just visited the 9-11 Museum and ground zero in New York City.
“There are several museums that I’ve been to that you realize the impact of the historic moment that took place. Nine-eleven is very similar to my trip to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC, and the Hiroshima Peace Museum in Hiroshima.”
For HPR News, I’m Wayne Yoshioka.