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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, September 9, 2002

Companies in Hawai'i plan for Sept. 11 anniversary

By Katherine Nichols
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaiian Electric Co. plans to hang an American flag on the side of its building and instruct company drivers to turn on their headlights.

Macy's will use its advertising space to commemorate Sept. 11 rather than promote its products.

The Outrigger Waikoloa Beach Resort is organizing an outdoor service for guests and employees.

In Hawai'i, they are among dozens of businesses that have decided to mark the anniversary with symbolic gestures and simple services, moving quietly through the day and allowing employees to remember Sept. 11 and grieve in their own way.

"They really want to keep it humble," said Noelani Whittington, director of public relations at the Outrigger Waikoloa Beach Resort on the Big Island, where general manager Robin Graf asked the staff to arrange a simple outdoor service that employees, guests and members of the community could attend.

Graf, who formerly served in the Air Force, said he felt a powerful urge to convey how much people in the Islands care about the global tragedy — despite being geographically distant. Fire and police department chaplains will lead everyone in prayer on the lawn.

Macy's stores — in Hawai'i and nationwide — will observe Sept. 11 with an initiative in conjunction with America's Blood Centers called "A Gift From Your Heart." In local stores, people can fill out a blood donor pledge card to be forwarded to the Blood Bank of Hawai'i.

Kapiolani Hospital for Women and Children plans to hold a memorial service in the hospital auditorium for employees, patients and families, and each participant will be invited to place a flower in an unadorned wreath base.

The local office of Marsh USA, a subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies, will gather during lunch as a "company family" to commemorate the loss of 295 colleagues in the World Trade Center. Part of the program includes a viewing of a memorial service video created by their New York office.

Other companies plan to fly the American flag at half-staff. Hawaiian Electric plans to do this, as well as drape a large American flag on the King Street side of its building and observe a company-wide moment of silence.

Nondenominational prayer groups, brown-bag lunch discussions and candlelight vigils will be among the activities at many college campuses throughout the Islands. Students and instructor Kawika Napoleon will lead the Kapi'olani Community College attendees in a chant. Leeward Community College students plan to read from the Torah, Quran and Bible before dedicating a "meditation bench."

Along with several other activities, the University of Hawai'i-Manoa will provide writing scrolls on walls in the Campus Center for students to share their thoughts. There will be a candlelight ceremony at 7 p.m.

A color guard presentation will highlight the day at Kaua'i Community College before an informal brown-bag discussion lunch. Students and faculty at Maui Community College will host a brown-bag lunch as well, and contribute two lines to an international peace poem circulating around the world via the Internet.

Peace is also the dominant theme at Hawai'i Pacific University. The international chorale will sing a hymn, then lead people gathered on a Fort Street Mall in singing "Let There Be Peace on Earth."

As a whole, Hawai'i universities and businesses are removing themselves from ongoing debate across the country about the war on terrorism, and instead are focusing on healing.

Nothing different will occur at the Slipper House at Ala Moana Center on Sept. 11; instead, the tragedy is remembered daily with prayer, discussion and hundreds of changes implemented within the company in the past year, according to owner Glenn Uejio.

He knows stress and fear affect business, and he wants to make sure everyone feels comfortable and secure.

His hopeful, quiet message to employees who feel more "cautious" this month: "It affected us internally and actually made us stronger."