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.