U.S. and Hawaii flags at half-staff for Sept. 11 anniversary

U.S. and Hawaii flags will be lowered to half-staff today on the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the country, and a Hawaiian blessing ceremony is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. at the Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas.

President Barack Obama proclaimed Sept. 11 as Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance, calling for the U.S. flag to be flown at half-staff.

Twelve years ago, terrorists hijacked planes that crashed into the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon. Another hijacked flight crashed into a field in Pennsylvania as passengers attempted to take control of the plane. Thousands of Americans were killed.

The Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas has organized a morning Hawaiian blessing ceremony in commemoration of Patriot Day for the third straight year. Hotel guests and the public are invited.

There will be a tribute to families, volunteers and first responders for their heroism and sacrifices that day. Many first responders lost their lives trying to rescue victims as the World Trade Center crumbled to the ground.

A highlight of the blessing will be a flower scattering at sea. The event will be at North Kaanapali Beach fronting resort’s Kai Lani Lawn.

Mayor Alan Arakawa in a statement said that “we should all take some time to remember what happened 12 years ago . . . and how all of our lives were changed forever since then.”

He noted that due to 9/11 the nation is fighting two wars, air travel has become more difficult and there is distrust of some religions and ethnic groups.

“So please take some time to remember those who died, those who grieve and those who are still suffering from that terrible day,” Arakawa said. “We take so many things for granted, our health, our families, our jobs and even our freedoms. For one day at least let us appreciate the sacrifices that some have made and continue to make for our country.”