LETTERS for April 28 issue
THE TIDAL WAVE OF 1946
My name is Cathy Ralar Lum Lung. I was born on April 6, 1939 on a little plantation camp called Mahinahina, up on the hillside above the airport that is today called Kapalua Airport.
My story is about how I survived the tidal wave of April 1, 1946. I was a student at the old Honokowai Elementary School. Our school was located on the oceanside of the street. The school was between the ABC Store and Maui Sands Villas. I remember on the morning of April 1, 1946, I was seven years old at that time. Our school building was the old type building — one-story, long like an “L” shape. Maybe we had six or less steps going up to the classes. It must have been between 9 or 10 a.m. in the morning, and it was recess. While we as children were playing outside, we saw water coming into the school yard, and it wasn’t raining.
The water started to rise, so all the children ran up on the porch and called our teachers. I remember calling out to the teachers, letting them know the water was coming up the stairs. During that time, Maui was a territory. We didn’t have any siren system, no cell phones — only phones that were attached to the wall. The school couldn’t contact our parents, but above the school there was a cow dairy. The police couldn’t come to rescue us, because there were a lot of big boulders on the road.
So the dairymen from the farm came to rescue all the students. They put us on the old dairy trucks — the type that had wire caged on the side. The dairymen took us to the old plantation camp that was called Kahana Camp, which is now called Kahana Ridge.
There were plantation homes there and also a stable for the horses. And that’s where the train would pass every day to haul the cane. I had an older sister living there, so they left us there to wait for our parents.
Just to let you know, the whole Honokowai road was underwater. If you can imagine, they only had homes and the church on the left side of the road. On the right side, as I can remember, it was all open land. Where Paki Maui is, it was all open land, all the way probably to the bridge going to Kahana. There was a little store; it was called Jonny Nobles. As children we loved it, because that’s where we could get our ice cream cones for $.05.
But the whole area of Honokowai, straight across the road, was underwater. I remember the waves came in with full force. We were little children — the water was above our chest. As children, we always lived in the Kahana area across the beach.
The tsunami we had on March 11, 2011 was nothing compared to the tidal wave of 1946. That’s what it was called. I remember that we were told around 150 people on the Big Island died. I recently saw a man that was a student at the school in Hilo. He was 16 years old at that time. He said he saw 28 of his student friends swept in the sea.
So this is my story how I survived the tidal wave of 1946. My advice to the public in today’s world is we are lucky to have some kind of warning system. Please take heed to any kind of warning. Mahalo nui loa and God bless.
(Hear more accounts of the tidal wave of 1946 at “Are you prepared for the next Lahaina disaster?” on Wednesday, May 4, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Lahaina Civic Center.)
AUNTY CATHY RALAR LUM LUNG, West Maui
NO SHORTAGE OF LAWYERS
Everyone living on Maui must put up with shortages.
We realize we live on an island. We are supplied with almost everything from elsewhere. We have to depend on Honolulu and the Mainland for many services and necessities.
It’s refreshing to know that it only takes a local call to get a lawyer. We are blessed with having 58 pages of them listed in the phone book.
We don’t have to import lawyers as we do everything else. So if you need one, take your pick.
ARSENE “BLACKIE” GADARIAN, Lahaina
OBAMA CLUELESS ON FUEL CRISIS
Well, “your” president got his wish and more. When gas went to over $4 a gallon in 2008, he said gas should be $4 a gallon, just not get there so fast. (Were you listening?)
Now, the national average is $3.90/gallon with Hawaii paying nearly $5. This, when the economy can least afford such an economic slam.
Obama’s solution? Mock and heckle a town hall man asking what is being done about the high gas prices. (AP pulled the story a second after it was released.)
He then cozies up to his buddy and mentor, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, and plans on giving Columbia a $2.84 BILLION loan for their oil industry. But he places a moratorium on domestic oil exploration… go figure.
Obama appears to be on a deliberate mission to economically destroy America, as this gas situation is just the latest in a long list of idiotic economic moves by him and his cronies.
Although it could just be a total lack of competence from a person who never did a thing in his life except “Community Agitate.”
RON BOUDREAUX, Lahaina
OBAMA FACES A TOUGH JOB
Bush was the disaster, and Obama has to solve it, so I cannot agree more to what Doug Karr wrote.
If anybody thinks he or she could do a better job, well, stand yourself for election.
Yes, Obama does have a tough time — doubtless — but digging a nation out from a hole as deep as it was left behind by G.W. Bush is a nearly insurmountable task to accomplish within a short period.
Even God Himself had taken a few thousand years to create perfect Earth.
As hyperbole as it may sound, it still is just a fact.
DR. G. WOODMAN, Via E-mail
TIME TO EXAMINE HOW OUR MONEY IS SPENT
Right now, our debt, the deficit and the spectacle of a narrowly averted government shutdown have focused attention on federal spending of tax dollars. Such a magnifying glass aimed at the federal budget will expose priorities of our “civilized” society.
So what are our federal values? We have two sides to the spending budget: one non-discretionary (required spending by law or interest on the debt), and the other discretionary. The discretionary side is where our priorities are displayed full frontal. The current budget allows for 56 percent on the Pentagon, wars and nuclear weapons. That 56 percent does not include veterans’ benefits, or the interest we pay on the debt of past wars, or homeland security. We spend a lot on war, war planning, defense, offense, outdated weapons, overspending on weapons systems cost overruns and more.
If we have the “stuff” to make war, we use it. If we shifted priorities, we could spend more on international development to help countries survive and thrive, so they might not be ripe for conflagration. If we had plentiful, well-trained and professional conflict resolution teams, we could rely on them more and boots on the ground less.
Our troops do a masterful job. The outpouring of support for what they have handled in Iraq and Afghanistan, and now in Libya, is appropriate. However, many in Congress are saying it’s time to look at the military budget. The Pentagon does not pass audits. Weapons manufacturers routinely have cost overruns that would not be tolerated anywhere else in the budget. Weapons systems made in various congressional districts are reauthorized, even if the Pentagon and the Joint Chiefs don’t want them.
Last year, in a nonpartisan town meeting effort sponsored by America Speaks in 60 cities across the country, 85 percent of all participants wanted defense spending cut by at least 10 percent, with a majority of participants, 51 percent, supporting a 15 percent cut.
We can have the defense we want and need, plus the security of jobs, health care, education and a clean environment, by adjusting our spending priorities to meet our values. It’s time.
SUSAN SHAER, Women’s Action for New Directions