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Published: November 1st 2006
A friend told me that Halloween in Waikiki is a must see, with people wearing the most funniest and ingenious costumes. As far as I was concern it was Halloween, Smalloween, different strokes for different folks; what may be fun and interesting for him, may not necessary be for me. So for many years I just ignored his suggestion.
Then came 9/11. Mentioning the year, I guess is not really necessary, nor mentioning what happened on that date. Of course, for me, and I can imagine for most Americans, it was a time of great sadness and confusion. Yes, it was a time of mourning, but for how long, before we put it aside and move on?
A sports editor for a local newspaper wrote an article in the paper, chastising many of the managers of various sports teams, for canceling their games for the weekend following 9/11. I in turn wrote him a scalding letter, chastising him for his insensitivity. He in turn, told me to buck off and quit preaching to him.
Waikiki, our goose which lays the golden egg, for several weeks after, looked like a Ghost Town. Friends and acquaintances were losing their jobs
or having their hours curtailed, even those not directly connected to the tourist industry. It was rumored that the Japanese Tourists were staying away, because they thought it would seem disrespectful to play and have fun due to the tragedy on our soil. We had government officials travel there to relay the message that no, it was not disrespectful in fact it was honorable for them to come and play and enjoy themselves.
Also to add to my depression and confusion, was reading the many Message Boards discussing the 9/11 tragedy. Many people in other countries and even within our own, were saying that we got what we deserved, because of our bullying and decadent ways, among other reasons. Yes, it did cause me to question internally, our goodness as a neighbor to the other countries, upon hearing such comments.
By Halloween of that year, 2001, though tourists were starting to trickle back, it was far from the usual bustling resort of the past. Merchants and other businesses of Waikiki were virtually begging Locals to support their businesses. Against this background, I decided I’d try and see what Halloween in Waikiki was like.
When I finally did
attend the Halloween in Waikiki, that year; for the first time in weeks after 9/11, the sidewalks were packed with people, tourists, both from Japan, and the U.S., Locals and Military. Many were dressed in costumes and parading up and down the sidewalks. Even the Japanese tourists, seemed very familiar with our custom, to my surprise, and were in costumes.
Laughter filled the air and as my friend described, many of the costumes were funny and ingenious. My favorite that night was a guy, dressed as OBL with a rocket protruding from his derrière. Japanese Tourists posed with Locals and mainland tourists and vice versa. Language and race posed no problem that night, and the International language of sharing, getting along and laughing together was the norm.
Yes, the event that night did help me restore faith in my country as a good country, not perfect, but striving. Yes, we are materialistic, a little decadent, yet we wish no harm and pain to others and want the same good things for them as well. Seeing the Japanese, whom we considered the bitterest of enemies, 60 years ago, laughing and playing along with us, makes me hopeful that someday
we can do the same with our Middle Eastern Brethrens, also.
Tonight, I again went to Waikiki for Halloween, the first time since, 2001. Again, the gaiety and goodwill was there. Now there were in addition, Chinese Tourists, as well, as Mexican and Germans. I even saw 2 Tibetan Monks, who seemed quite wide eyed at the happenings and appreciative. The Spirit of Halloween can help heal the World.
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