KALAELOA (HawaiiNewsNow) - It wasn't the largest ceremony commemorating the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. But it was heartfelt, and honored first responders, including police officers and firefighters, and naval aviators who lost their lives that day.
"9/11 wasn't a monster movie. It wasn't a science fiction movie. It was a real day in history. These are people who went to work on day, and didn't come back," said Honolulu Police officer Karl Steininger, who was the guest speaker at the Sunday morning ceremony.
Steininger has been with HPD for six years, but for the ceremony, he put on the uniform he wore as a New York police officer. "It's a step back in time," he said. "The shirt gets a little smaller year after year, but it's a great feeling to put it back on again."
Steininger brought the gathering back in time, remembering those who perished ten years ago. He also remembered a sign of aloha in that dark time.
"I remember driving down the West Side Highway,responding to the incident that day, and having our own little cheering squads on the West Side Highway, holding up signs," he told the crowd. "Someone was holding up a sign, 'Hawaii loves the NYPD.' It really hit home."
The ceremony was held at the Naval Air Museum Barbers Point at Kalaeloa Airport, which was holding an open house to commemorate the 100th anniversary of naval aviation. It also remembered naval aviators who lost their lives on 9/11, includes some who perished when a plane crashed into the Pentagon.
Steininger spoke without notes for about two minutes.
"I had mixed feelings about coming out today," he told the gathering. "I wasn't too sure I could do it. There's things about 9/11 I'd like to remember, and there's things about 9/11 I don't want to remember, and you can imagine what they are. But thank you for coming out today, and remembering our fellow Americans."
SPECIAL SECTION: 9/11 Ten Years Later