Honolulu man remembers lost loved one in 9/11 attack

Paul Putzulu
Paul Putzulu
Honolulu mayor Mufi Hannemann
Honolulu mayor Mufi Hannemann

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - More than 15-hundred people took part in the annual freedom walk on Oahu, Friday, to honor those who lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks. The eternal flame was dedicated two months after 9/11.

It's a sobering reminder of the tragic events that day. A day that changed a Honolulu man and his family forever.

As many throughout Hawaii remember the 9/11 attacks, so too does Paul Putzulu, but he has a personal connection.

The acting chief of the Honolulu Police Department lost his brother-in-law that day.

"The first thought was, well I hope he's not in the tower that was hit and the second plane hit, so now, it was just the hope that either he had gotten down or perhaps maybe he hadn't gone to work that day," Putzulu said.

But the inevitable happened. Putzulu's brother-in-law was killed. As were 600 other employees at the Cantor Fitzgerald investment firm.

"While I was feeling those emotions, we also knew that we had to get into work because not knowing how far the terrorist attack might be, being in the department, you have to prepare to protect our city," Putzulu said.

He and his fellow first responders did that. As he remembers his brother-in-law Friday, he thinks of the good times.

"Just the typical good person, the kind of person you'd like to know that you'd like to hang out with, just a real good guy," he said.

Around a hundred people attended the downtown Honolulu event. It included the playing of taps and a moment of silence for those who lost their lives on 9/11.

"It's important to remember those who carry that torch to remember those who ensure that when 9/11 is activated, they will be there for us," Honolulu mayor Mufi Hannemann said.