I had just arrived in Hawaii for what was to become a year of teaching. My hostess, Nan, called down to my suite of rooms to tell me to turn on the television. Our mutual friend, Betty, had called her to tell her about the disaster unfolding in New York. I was transfixed by the pictures and they were played over and over again. Betty’s brother-in-law worked at the World Trade Center and of course they were waiting for news of him. We tried to go on with our lives but even though Hawaii was thousands of miles away, we were all involved. Perhaps because of Pearl Harbor and the large number of military people in Hawaii, we felt this was happening to us too. We learned later that Betty’s brother-in-law OK.
One of my friends is a pilot for Northwest Airlines. He was the pilot on a flight that day from Tokyo to Honolulu. They suddenly got a message, probably shortly after nine AM, that all US airports were closed and no planes could land. There was no explanation and no further message. He had his co-pilot, who spoke Japanese, contact the Narita airport and find out what was going on. They were past the point of no return and did not have enough fuel to go to a different country. He declared an emergency and told the tower in Honolulu that he had a plane load of people, not enough fuel to go elsewhere and he must land. They allowed him to land at the far edge of the tarmac and regardless of where the passengers wanted to go, Honolulu was their final destination this trip.
Don, my host, had been in Vietnam, and he kept telling me that he was so angry. I think that all of us felt shock, anger, fear and frustration as the news kept developing. Even today, we feel some of that. It is hard for the American mind to wrap itself around the idea that someone could decide to kill innocent, unknown people and not feel remorse or regret.
Remembering that day, I am so grateful that I live here in the United States and that I have faith in Christ that gives me hope in a future where there will be no wars and no senseless killing and no fear, anger or frustration. I am grateful that I am allowed to practice my faith without restriction and that my faith does not require that I hate anyone and that my faith is based on love not hate and that I can survive the worst that happens. God has been good to me.
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