A tradition honoring 9/11 is upheld by sheet metal students

One in series of stories showcasing how HonCC remembers 9/11 this week. Maia Mayeshiro talks with Danny Aiu, professor at the HonCC Sheet Metal and Plastics Program.

Students from the Honolulu Community College Sheet Metal and Plastics program and their professor, Danny Aiu, have been for the past 16 years fabricating American flags made of sheet metal in remembrance and honor of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and of those who perished that day. One such flag is displayed on the HonCC campus 9/11 memorial situated between Building 2 and the campus preschool.

…but I don’t WANT to remember.

Larry L. Medina

It was about four in the morning when walked over to my computer and logged onto the Web via AOL, and once the three-minute screaming, squealing dial-up process was over, I noticed the webpage was mostly blank, save for a lone photo of a building on fire. Damn AOL, I thought, when will we ever get fast, reliable Web access? I walked over to the TV and tuned in to CNN, which showed the same smoking building, somewhere in Manhattan, and something about a plane crashing into it. Ahh, those tall buildings, I said to myself. This had happened once before, to the Empire State Building back in the 1940’s. Must have gotten lost in the clouds.

On my way to work, stuck in traffic out near Mililani, the radio DJ’s started to talk of that poor building. And then, what-? Another plane had just crashed into it? Or was it the twin tower next to it? What’s up with these air traffic controllers this morning, directing planes into buildings! Then there was speculation, talk, chatter, gossip that hey, these were not accidents. We’re being attacked, announced another station I had turned to.

Attacked? By whom? So it wasn’t planes that crashed into those buildings-? Had they been missiles? Who’s attacking us? Russia?

Ohhh shit, the Pentagon just got it too? What the hell – now the White House might be a target? By the time I had reported in to work, TV’s throughout my office building were showing raw footage of passenger jet planes slamming into gigantic towers, interspersed with long clips of Middle Eastern crowds positively giddy that America had gotten sucker-punched this terrible morning.

One of my co-workers was Muslim. From Malaysia, I think. She wore that head covering, that shawl of sorts that is traditional to her culture and her religion. She was a nice lady – prolly the nicest gal in the building. Now she was the enemy, and I hated her. The rest of the office came to feel the same way toward her. She quit some months after the attack. At the time, I was glad she left. Good riddance.

It’s been 16 years since that horrible morning. It was a really bad day for everyone. A really bad day for myself. I remember, but I don’t want to remember, because when I recall 9/11, it is these memories that fill me with dread, fill me with anger, fill me with hurt, fill me with uncertainty. As a patriotic American citizen and human being of this Earth, I still have no closure with this one day.

Honolulu Habitat for Humanity offers homes, help, hope

Reporter Maia Mayashiro talks with Kayla Rosenfeld of Honolulu Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit housing organization.

Larry L. Medina, writer
Maia Mayashiro, reporter
Fredrene Balanay, video

Kayla Rosenfeld of Honolulu Habitat for Humanity is on a mission. The nonprofit organization “is all about building homes who need the assistance… [to] build decent affordable housing for people here in our community.”

The organization works with homeowners build their own home with the help of staff and volunteers. Through this effort, the cost of a home is greatly reduced. Habitat for Humanity also has a Home Preservation program, designed to help existing homeowners improve the safety, value and appearance of their home. The program also helps the elderly get their homes ADA-compliant, allowing them to stay in their home and community, instead of moving out and into an assisted-living facility or care home.

Honolulu Habitat for Humanity also runs a donation warehouse/home improvement store (ReStore), like those run by Goodwill Industries and The Salvation Army. “If you’re a student and you need to furnish your apartment, come check this place out – you’ll find some really inexpensive things there,” said Rosenfeld. ReStore sells new and used furniture, appliances, building materials and home accessories to the public at a fraction of the retail price. Sales from ReStore directly fund Honolulu Habitat for Humanity’s mission of building affordable homes in communities on Oahu.

The organization offers volunteer opportunities to students interested in helping Habitat for Humanity fulfill its mission.

“As a nonprofit organization with a really, really tight budget, everything goes into the funding and construction of our homes. Volunteers make a huge difference in our organization, so I’m hoping that some of your students can take some time out of their busy schedules and come volunteer with us,” said Rosenfeld.

Volunteers can learn about retail (working out of the donation warehouse), working with people and learning organizing skills. Rosenfeld said volunteers would learn “what it takes to help an individual feel good about what they do and what they experience.”

Honolulu Habitat for Humanity contact info:
Phone (808) 538-7070 • info@honoluluhabitat.org
922 Austin Lane, #C-1 • Honolulu, HI 96817
Office Hours from 8am to 4 pm

ReStore Hours – Tues-Sat 9:30-4:30 (808)380-8617