Naval Air Museum Barbers Point honors 9/11 heroes, celebrates naval aviation

Members of the James Campbell High School Navy JROTC color guard participate in the Naval Air Museum Barbers Point special 10th anniversary 9-11 ceremony on Sept. 11 at Kalaeloa Airport.

Story and photo by Jazzmin Williams

Contributing Writer

This year on Sept. 11 at Naval Air Museum Barbers Point, a multitude of emotions ran through the day: joy, pride, anguish, empathy, and most of all, hope. For although the open house at Barbers Point was mourning and remembering a terrible day 10 years past, it also celebrated 100 years of naval aviation by the United States.

Barbers Point celebrated 100 years of aviation by the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard by hosting a free open house the weekend of Sept. 10 and 11 and showcasing its rich history Sept. 11. There was also a special remembrance ceremony to honor those who served on that day 10 years ago.

“We are able to give the reverence to 9/11 as well as celebrate a monumental achievement,” said Brad Hayes, the executive director of the museum and a former Marine.

At the museum for more than 12 years, Hayes believes that the museum is a place that needs to be remembered, not only for the historical equipment and aircraft it offers firsthand, but also because of the legacy it presents.

“In 1944, President Roosevelt drove through here, through this very hangar,” Hayes said.

The museum was established in 1999, at the installation formerly known as Naval Air Station Barbers Point, with a mission to save aircraft that are historical to the station as well as other aircraft relevant to naval aviation history in the islands, according to their website. With nine aircraft currently on display, two in the museum, and two more in the process of being acquired, it is the only museum of its kind in the islands.

Visitors to the museum are even allowed to sit in the cockpit of aircraft. It is a nonprofit, with majority of staff being volunteers.

“It is overwhelmingly humbling to see the amount of people helping,” said Hayes. “I’m just blown away.”

However, there was also an undercurrent of remembrance of a day past, the day 10 years ago that changed the lives of everyone at the ceremony.

“I think we should remember [9/11], because people are always protesting,” said Pam Keanini, whose son was a member of the color guard. “They forget about the people that gave their lives so that they can protest.”

The ceremony started with a parade of the colors and was followed by an invocation by Cmdr. Terry Eddinger, Chaplain Corps, U.S. Navy. The two guest speakers were Hayes and Karl Steninger, a member of the Honolulu Police Department (HPD) and formerly a member of the New York Police Department (NYPD). Steininger was in the NYPD and serving in New York at the time of the attacks.

“9/11 wasn’t a monster movie, or a horror movie. It was a real day, with real people,” said Steininger.

“What the terrorists didn’t expect was the resilience of the American people,” Steininger said.

The solemn ceremony included the ringing of the bell along with two bagpipe players for those lost on 9/11 with Hawaii ties. For Ilma Anikow, a planner of the event and member of the marketing team for the museum, the memories are still fresh.

“I’m from New Jersey, so for me personally it’s hard,” Anikow said.

“I remember that day like it was yesterday. My sister was three blocks away at the time, and my brother was at the Pentagon. So for me it’s still chicken skin and

crying,” Anikow said, with tears streaming down her cheeks.

Although he has been in HPD for seven years, Steininger still had reservations about attending the remembrance event.

“It’s a little creepy still on one end of it,” Steininger explained.

“The smell of 3,000 decomposing bodies blowing over to Queens, the screams, people grabbing my uniform and saying, ‘Where’s my wife,’ those are the things I don’t like to remember,” Steininger said.

Steininger proclaimed that it was a beautiful ceremony, and that he never shed a tear from 9/11 until May of this year, when he heard of Osama Bin Laden’s death.

“That’s when reality set in,” Steininger said “That’s the day I cried.”

The ceremony ended with the reading of “My Name is Old Glory” written by retired Senior Master Sgt. Don S. Miller.

The rest of the day was filled with food vendors, and massive aircraft. Patrons sat in cockpits, circled the aircraft in awe, and listened to volunteers explaining the history of each one.

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Category: News