Hawaii to mark 15th anniversary of 9/11 with Honolulu Hale ceremony

Hawaii to mark 15th anniversary of 9/11 with Honolulu Hale ceremony

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu will mark the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks Sunday with a procession in urban Honolulu and a somber ceremony in front of city hall's eternal flame.

Following the gathering, Honolulu Hale will be illuminated in red, white and blue.

The mayor's annual 9/11 Remembrance Walk begins at 5 p.m. Sunday in front of Honolulu Police Department headquarters.

First responders, city officials and members of the public will participate.

The walk begins with a ceremony in front of HPD headquarters, followed by a procession to Honolulu Fire Department headquarters at South and Queen streets.

From HFD, the procession will make its way to the eternal flame at Honolulu Hale, where Mayor Kirk Caldwell and Father Rheo Ofalsa of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Honolulu will speak.

The ceremony will include music, an oli, and a playing of "Taps" for the victims of the attacks.

Nine people with Hawaii ties died in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington:

Christine Snyder was "in love with life," her husband said.

The 32-year-old was an arborist and project manager for the environmental group Outdoor Circle, and was on her way home to the islands on Sept. 11, 2001 from her first trip to the East Coast.

She was on board hijacked Flight 93 when it crashed in an open field in Somerset County, Penn., killing everyone on board.

Snyder and her husband, Ian Pescaia, had been married for just three months when she died. The two met in high school, and both worked at the Outdoor Circle.

"She was in love with life," he said. "She didn't have a bitter spot in her."

Snyder's stepmother, Jan, told the Honolulu Advertiser in 2009 that living with her loss was a daily challenge.

"Time doesn't heal but it does smooth out those God-awful feelings," she said. "They've started to be not so much on the surface."

Snyder's mother-in-law, Leslie Adams, said Snyder was passionate about her native Hawaii, about protecting the land, and about her family.

She told United Heroes, a group dedicated to remembering the victims of Flight 93, that "Ian and Chris were not only beloved husband and wife, they were soulmates. Chris was such a presence of light wherever she went that everyone she knew always remembered her, even after one introduction."

Before her death, Snyder oversaw a beautification project at Magic Island in which scores of trees were planted. She said the project was intended to bring a "lei of aloha" to the park.

In Snyder's honor, the city erected a memorial bench at Magic Island and planted a milo tree.

Laurie Laychak was substitute teaching on 9/11 when a note was delivered to her second grade class.

It said: There's been an attack on the Pentagon.

Laychak's husband, David, worked there as a civilian budget analyst for the U.S. Army.

After getting the news, the Hawaii Baptist Academy graduate numbly returned to their Manassas, Va., home and spent the rest of the day praying he would call.

He never did.

Laychak, 40, was among 125 Pentagon employees and contractors who died on 9/11 when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the building.

Laurie Laychak, who graduated from Pacific Baptist Academy in 1980, said she didn't dare close her eyes on the evening of Sept. 11, 2001.

"That night, I couldn't go to sleep," she said. "I was afraid that if I stopped praying, that something bad would happen."

David Laychak worked for the Army for 17 years. His father had been a career officer, and Laychak later regretted not joining up.

"He really believed in serving his country and helping keep us safe and free," his wife said.

The talented athlete loved sports and being outdoors. But his main hobby was spending time with family. He spent afternoons playing hide-and-seek with the kids, or teaching them baseball and basketball.

"I'd have to call all three of them in for dinner," his wife said.

Other grieving families have said they cannot bear to look at the Pentagon again. But Laurie Laychak doesn't feel that way. It's where the couple met in 1984, when both worked there.

"If it weren't for the Pentagon, I would never have met him," she said.

Georgine Corrigan loved collectibles and art, but it was her grandchildren that brought her the greatest joy.

On Sept. 11, 2001, the Hawaii Kai antiques dealer was on board hijacked Flight 93 when it crashed in Somerset County, Penn., killing everyone on board.

Corrigan moved to Honolulu from Ohio in 1976, and got a job as a bank teller.

She later worked in the textiles industry, but eventually opened her own collectibles business with the help of her brother, Kevin Marisay.

She had been on the East Coast to help her brother run a Massachusetts antique show and to shop for collectibles. In the last message she sent her daughter, she said she was heading home.

While Corrigan loved her work, her grandkids were the light of her life, her daughter said.

In 2008, Corrigan moved in with her daughter's family. Mother and daughter shared an interest in art collecting, and Corrigan loved to dote on her grandsons, who were 6 and 4 on Sept. 11, 2001.

"When she was home, she was here to eat, sleep and play with the kids," daughter Laura Brough said.

Brough told the Honolulu Advertiser just days after her mother's death that Corrigan was "always going out of her way to help others."

"I'm just thankful that we had the opportunity to live together with her," Brough said. "I wouldn't trade those times for anything now."

Heather Malia Ho had a sweet tooth. She was an award-winning pastry chef, after all.

And on Sept. 11, 2001, the 1987 Punahou graduate was doing what she loved – cooking delectable confections at the Windows on the World restaurant. The world-renowned eatery was on the 107th floor of the World Trade Center.

Ho, 32, had been hired at Windows in June.

She was living a dream, but her ultimate goal was to open her own pastry shop, said Michael Lomonaco, the restaurant's executive chef.

"In mid-August she gave me notice, but offered to stay until we could find a replacement," he said.

Ho's boyfriend, Daniel Roorda, said despite Ho's legendary sweet tooth, she was petite and never gained a pound.

"We would go to a restaurant and she would order only the desserts," he said. "I don't know how she did it. I think it's that her energy level was so high."

Two years after the Sept. 11 attacks, Hawaii nurse Charlotte Keane urged people not to forget the victims.

People like her brother, Richard, who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11.

"To a lot of people, it's just become the reason why they don't get on a plane as fast anymore," she told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. "They forget how tragic it was for the families, and instead it's just become increased security."

Richard Keane's family remembers him for his friendliness, and his love of a good story.

He especially loved to garden, bringing to life 80 tomato plants in 2001 and growing Connecticut field pumpkins every fall for the children in his extended family.

"Dick was always trying to foist vegetables off on people," his wife Judy Keane told the New York Times.

And Richard Keane did just about everything to music.

"If I ask him to put up a picture for me, he can't do that until the music is going," Judy Keane said. He was not the greatest singer, but sang in the choir of Sacred Heart Church, where he would shuttle several blind women on most Sundays.

Keane, a 54-year-old senior vice president for risk and insurance firm Marsh & McLennan, worked in Hartford, Conn. He hadn't been to the company's World Trade Center office that year until that day.

Dr. Thomas C. Dolan, Keane's brother-in-law, said Keane seemed to have an endless source of energy. He was a constant coach to his five sons, and started running marathons at age 40.

"The glass of water was always half-full for this guy," Dolan told the New York Times.

At 26, Maile Hale was a rising star.

In 1993, she was valedictorian at Kaiser High School. After graduating from Wesleyan, where she majored in chemistry, she moved to Boston to work for Boston Investor Services. Within two years, she was named vice president and chief operating officer.

Hale was attending a seminar at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

Colleagues and friends said Hale was incredibly smart and driven, but also well-rounded. She was known to have a weakness for chocolate, and brought humor to the office.

"I don't think there's a gentler, kinder soul than Maile," Kaiser librarian Diane Ueki told the Honolulu Advertiser shortly after the 9/11 attacks.

Hale's mother, Carol, told the Advertiser that she was touched that so many were grieving with her family, but she also wanted people to remember her daughter during the good times.

"She loved dancing. She loved the sea. She loved to come home and swim in the ocean," Hale said. "She was what everybody wants their child to be."

Michael Collins intended to retire in Hawaii with his wife, Lissa.

Lissa Collins was a Leilehua High School graduate, and the two were married in 1997.

They had often talked of growing old together.

"I was the luckiest girl, that I could spend 11 years with him," Collins told the New York Times. "Everyone says that I was the best thing for him, but he was the best thing for me. He was more my life support than I was his."

Collins worked for Cantor Fitzgerald in the World Trade Center, as manager of the firm's eSpeed unit, and was there on Sept. 11, 2001. He had previously been vice president of the firm's U.S. Treasury bond brokering service.

Collins was an outdoor enthusiast. He skied and snowboarded around the world, and road a mountain bike on the back roads of Hawaii.

Friends said he stayed healthy for his wife. 

Lissa Collins' father, Henry Lee, told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin on the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks that healing had been difficult.

"Sometimes I wonder about the survivors from Pearl Harbor and how they went through this," he said. "It's been over 60 years and the process of healing is a long process, and they're still trying to heal. I think this is going to be the same situation."

After graduating from Our Redeemer Lutheran High School in 1979, Patricia Colodner left the islands for New York.

She went to work, and started taking night and weekend classes at Fordham University, eventually earning a degree in computer science.

Colodner, 39, was a secretary at Marsh & McLennan at the World Trade Center. And on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, she was on the phone with a friend on the 96th floor of the north tower when the line went dead.

Colodner and her husband, Warren, had two children. They were 9 and 2 when Colodner died.

And those kids, said her husband, were her life.

"Her two children made her feel blessed, and she was a wonderful, devoted mother," he told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin just weeks after the attacks. "She made me very happy, happier than I ever was in my life."

Patricia Colodner was born in the islands, and her mother was a member of the Star of the Sea parish before moving to California.

Her mother, Marie Pitchford, said Colodner was vivacious and truly enjoyed life.

"I keep thinking any minute she's going to come through the door," she said.

The walls of Richard Y.C. Lee's World Trade Center office were papered with photos of his son.

His wife, Karen, described Lee as "utterly devoted to family and friends."

"He looked forward to reading aloud to his little boy and spending time with him," she said, shortly after Lee's death was confirmed.

When the 1986 Punahou School graduate was killed on Sept. 11, 2001, his son was 22 months old. The small family had just moved into their dream house in Great Neck, New York, a few months earlier.

Lee worked for Cantor Fitzgerald, on the 104th floor of 1 World Trade. 

Just after the first plane hit on 9/11, Lee called his wife and told her to give his cell phone number to emergency workers in hopes of helping lead people to safety. But when police tried the cell five minutes later, there was no answer.

Lee, who was 34, met his future wife at Yale. He was head of equities technology for Cantor Fitzgerald.

"For those who knew him, the enormity of his life is unbearable," his wife said. "But they know his spirit lives on through the tremendous impact he had on others."

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