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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, September 14, 2001

Letters to the Editor

In the hour of our need, they gave their lives

Pray for their brave souls.

It must have been terrifying to run down 80 flights of stairs from a burning building about to topple on you. It must have been 10 times more frightening to run into and up 80 flights of stairs of that same inferno.

That's just what the 300-plus brave firefighters who died Tuesday did, as they dauntlessly tried to save the lives of people they did not know, and tried to put out the fires blazing in the World Trade Center.

I tried to get my daughter to say a prayer last night for those brave souls who perished Tuesday, but she fell asleep too fast. Just before that she asked if they were going to fly a plane into our apartment building. I tried to shield her from the evil in this world by changing the subject. I said a prayer on her behalf later. I prayed that the firefighters would be found safe and that it would turn out to be not as bad as the media said.

May God have mercy on the people who did this and for those valiant firefighters who didn't make it. May they rest in peace in the arms of the Lord.

Take a moment from your busy lives to say a similar prayer for those heroic people who gave their lives in the line of duty.

Richard D. Bailey

Do something about the anger, frustration

Dear Congressman Neil Abercrombie:

Tuesday it was shown to us, in graphic detail, that the U.S. government is no longer able to protect its citizens. The responsibility for the protection of the citizens is in the Preamble of the Constitution. The Preamble is only one sentence and not difficult to understand. Why can't we get it right? At this moment I feel my government has abdicated its responsibility.

I have heard that we should have a terrorist czar and a war on terrorism. Would that be similar to the drug czar and the war on drugs? I hope not as those have been largely ineffective.

I submit to you that the people we have elected to represent us are losing credibility at an alarming rate and they (yourself included) had better shape up and do something to get control of this kind of situation. There is a lot of anger and frustration out here.

Fred R. Boll

Traffic snarl works against deployment

Since Tuesday's terrorist attacks, there have been many statements and questions about the state of readiness of the military. That morning, the people of Hawai'i got a firsthand look at just how ready our military is.

Most of it was parked in various traffic lanes trying to get into the bases.

One wonders, if this had been a recall to deploy, how many soldiers would have gone? Would the Army have been deploying squads instead of companies?

Sure looks like a need for some serious study. The HPD could have helped matters a little by not permitting vehicles to cut into the lanes of waiting traffic.

Don Chambers

Fighting terrorism with our checkbooks

The nation sat riveted to the television on Sept. 11 as news of terrorist attacks reached homes, offices and schools nationwide. Rage, sadness, fear and helplessness ensued. What could we do? Desperately call friends and family members in New York and D.C.? Sit and watch the television coverage? Send a check to the Red Cross?

I say, go shopping. It's obvious that the terrorists were intent on disrupting the biggest, most powerful economy on Earth.

Perhaps the terrorists thought they could strike a fatal blow to an economy already injured by the dot-com crash, the layoffs, the so-called "downturn."

Fatalistic economists say the attacks could push the United States into an official recession. And because our economy is so powerful, we could take the rest of the world down the tubes with us. The only thing that had been keeping us in the black, they tell us, was consumer confidence.

We can't afford to have our confidence shaken. The world can't afford it. Citizens were the victims in this act of war, and citizens must be the soldiers fighting back ... with our credit cards and checkbooks.

Keep the economy alive. It's the patriotic thing to do.

Monique Cole

I am proud to be an American today

I send you my love on one of the most trying days in the history of my being. I awoke to an image that left me with disbelief. I quickly moved on to shock as I continued through my day.

I helped a friend to move a few things as I had promised, but I was in a continuous state of prayer and concern. Upon receiving word from my grandmother in New York, I felt relief, followed quickly by anger and resolve.

I am trying to make peace with myself on a day that so many people, just like you and me, cease to be.

Please come to understand I am proud to be an American today. We are a people who have come together quickly. The freedoms that we believe in will continue because we believe that they will.

May God bless the American people and all the loving people of this great world.

Denim H.I. Cretton

Taliban should be given an ultimatum

It's time to take the gloves off. We are at war!

If we find any evidence that links terrorist Osama bin Laden to Tuesday's unprovoked attack on America, we should tell those who are harboring him that they have 24 hours to turn him over to us or face severe consequences.

Tell them they must comply immediately or face elimination. Tell them our forces — the most powerful and most determined in the world — are standing by, ready to wipe out their leadership.

If the Taliban is providing fair haven to someone who has perpetrated these crimes against our people, then perhaps it is time to put them out of their misery and let the people of Afghanistan choose new leadership.

Keith Haugen

Don't compare attack with Pearl Harbor

My Japanese English language students are dismayed that Tuesday's terrorist attacks are being likened to the attack on Pearl Harbor 60 years ago. They agree with Advertiser columnist David Shapiro that the latter was an attack on the U.S. military by the Japanese military, not on thousands of civilians.

As we react to this act of "war," let us keep in mind the sensibilities of those who were once our adversaries in war, but are now our friends.

Thomas A. Huff

Let's not let racism take hold of country

I'm an eighth-grader attending Kamehameha Middle School. My former English teacher suggested I write to the editor because I'm feeling helpless.

A few of my friends suggest we go in and bomb the whole Middle East. They believe anyone living there is responsible. "Take the evil from the roots and pull it out," they say. How can every person in one country be responsible for the acts of a few?

I know there are many people who are angry about the way the citizens of the Middle East were dancing in the streets, and yes, I am too. But why should we persecute innocent people because of their race? Isn't that just like what happened to the Japanese Americans during World War II? I would like to know why some of us haven't learned from that.

This is racism. Period. Please, don't let us sink to their level.

Joy Kito-Hong

State should allow us chance to mourn

I am deeply disturbed about the current efforts by the state and university to conduct "business as usual."

Such efforts deny the people of Hawai'i the opportunity to absorb the gravity of the events that transpired Tuesday morning. We are making superficial attempts to pretend everything is "normal." Yet, I have often found myself wondering if things will ever be "normal" again.

I understand the need to keep key state offices open during this time, but why ask non-essential employees or students to carry on as if nothing has happened?

It seems simply absurd. We lost not only innocent lives but that innate sense of security each of us carried around with us yet took for granted. That deserves recognition.

Further, out of respect for the thousands upon thousands of lives that were lost needlessly, this community should stop and mourn. The country stopped for us when Pearl Harbor was bombed.

It is now our turn to show our support and respect for those whose lives ended and for the survivors whose lives have changed forever.

Trisha Kehaulani Watson

Give our military whatever it needs

As a 100 percent disabled Vietnam vet of two combat tours, I am taken aback by the actions of terrorists to strike into the heartland of America.

Their actions are an act of war, similar to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and this country's political figures should declare WAR on those responsible for this attack. Don't make the same mistake we made in Vietnam. Give our military the right to go after these terrorists.

If I could re-enlist, I'd be the first on the front line to take this fight with these cowards to their own back yard.

Roland Nishimura

Reader's focus on energy misplaced

I must commend Howard Wiig on his intellectual insight about the crisis this country now faces (Letters, Sept. 12). How dare we think about the many thousands of dead in New York. How dare we think about retaliation. Let's think about solar energy.

Mr. Wiig, how is your car running today? Are you getting enough electricity? Is your computer running fine? Do you have enough food that ships and planes bring to these Islands? Hypocrisy. What a strange word.

John McLeroy

A lifetime of unwanted memories

I was awakened and told "The country is under attack from the air. They hit New York and Washington."

My first words were: "Not again!"

As a child, I was sitting on the living room floor "reading" the Sunday comics and listening to the radio when the bulletin on the Pearl Harbor attack was broadcast.

I was too young to comprehend the impact and implications of this news.

As time passed, I learned we were lucky: Our family had gotten away from the horrors of totalitarianism in Russia; but I also learned from the whispers in our home that we had lost the remaining family members in the Showa (Holocaust).

I remember hanging the blue star flag in our window for those family members who went off to the war. We were blessed: We never had to hang the gold star side.

It all ended on my birthday on Sept. 2, 1945, when the surrender was signed on the USS Missouri. It was over, we thought, forever. Life went on.

Then on Sunday, June 25, 1950, I was playing chess with a friend on his front porch. His father came out and told us that North Korea had invaded South Korea. He went back in, got an atlas, and showed us where those countries were. Within days he was activated and flew off to the war.

In October 1962, I was at a military post on the East Coast, armed and carrying a blank war diary, ready to record the invasion of Cuba. I even knew the exact coordinates of where I was to be landed. We didn't and I returned.

On Aug. 7, 1964, I was watching television and minding my 6-month-old first son when President Johnson announced the (alleged) attack on U.S. destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin.

On Jan. 15, 1991, I was in Hong Kong when United Airlines called and said it could guarantee me a flight out the next morning to Japan and hopefully back to Hawai'i. After tomorrow, it could not guarantee a flight. On the 16th we began bombing Baghdad.

On Feb. 28, 1991, hours after the Iraqi surrender, I was on a flight to Indonesia. Another brutal invasion had been overcome.

On April 19, 1995, it was like today. I woke to the live coverage of the bombing attack on the Oklahoma City Federal Building. I was stunned. I was frozen. When I learned it was an American who had done this, I was angry. I am still angry.

This morning I had to wake my second son and brief him as unemotionally and calmly as I could as to what was happening.

He was silent.

He went to a TV and watched in continued silence.

He dressed wordlessly and left for school.

I sit here in Hawai'i still considering myself, my family — and all of us in Hawai'i — fortunate.

My tears flow for those killed and wounded in the two attacks.

Sadly, too many of our tears have flowed too many times in just my lifetime.

Tears should not flow so endlessly.

Marty Plotnick