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LETTERS for June 27 issue

By Staff | Jun 27, 2013

A 1946 tsunami survival tale

On Memorial Day at our Lahaina Arts Society Banyan Tree Art Fair, I was told the most incredible story by a lovely couple from Virginia.

We got on the subject of Molokai, as I had lived there myself, sold my “Aloha Eggs” and taught school for about three years. Then their amazing story unfolded and gave me “chicken skin.”

Robin told me her father was in the Navy in the 1940s and was on a PT Boat off Molokai. They were doing Naval exercises in the ocean there one day with about four other men.

Suddenly, a huge tidal wave – now known as the infamous and devastating tsunami of April 1, 1946 – came and totally smashed their boat apart, she said. The wave had been generated by an earthquake in Alaska, but it was unknown to them, as no warnings existed back then.

They were washed ashore to some black sand beach on Molokai, which they found out later was in Kalaupapa, the isolated community of leprosy residents of Hawaii. She said their skin was so scorched because of the intense sun and reflection from the black sand. The Naval men were starving and thought they would die.

After the tsunami was over, sometime later, some people with leprosy (today known as Hansen’s Disease) came down to the beach and offered them eggs, water and food.

At first, they refused, as they thought they might get the disease. (Back in 1946, it was still contagious. The drug had not been discovered until the 1960s to cure leprosy.)

After awhile, the Navy survivors took the food, just to survive and live. Much later, she said, a Navy boat came and rescued them. They all survived, and no one got leprosy to her knowledge.

WOW! I was almost in tears hearing this incredible, unknown story. She said the Navy men were so appreciative and owed their lives to those kindhearted, generous people down there in Kalaupapa.

What a fantastic, heroic and inspiring story to hear on Memorial Day! I had tears in my eyes and hugged her for sharing that amazing story about her dear dad while serving his country.

She said she actually has some photos and tape he recorded before he died years later. This is truly unique and inspiring Hawaiian and Kalaupapa, Molokai history never heard before!

We are forever blessed to live Hawaii, and we salute all those brave people who serve our country here and far always!

ELIZABETH MAY, Lahaina teacher


Why describe an animal’s death?

I do not understand why your publication had to print the detailed demise of a giant fish in Maalaea Harbor. “After almost three hours, the marlin finally tired itself to death.”

I am not having an issue with the fishermen who are conducting their business, although as an animal rights believer, I do not condone fishing.

I don’t even have a problem with your newspaper reporting this catch as a newsworthy event. I do question a published description of a creature’s losing battle with life and death – a fight in which the odds of it surviving are stacked against it, to say the least.

In its simple desire to live, I have more respect for this fish than I do for most people. What good does it do anyone to read about a living thing’s tortuous death?



Stunned by GOP hypocrisy

NSA spying? PRISM began under Bush, who also rammed down our throats the Patriot Act specifically to legalize such NSA actions. But only now the GOP hates Obama for spying on us?

AP phone hacking? Since when do Republicans object to finding leaks of secrets?

IRS investigations? Politics aside, doesn’t any group named “Taxed Enough Already” trying to set up tax shelters deserve investigation?

Stop witch-hunting, GOP. It failed under Clinton, and it will fail now. Oh, one more thing: ObamaCare is now law. Ha ha!



Defend your rights

“All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.” Thomas Jefferson

Will this be America’s last birthday?

America is the first country in history to be founded based on individual liberty. The principles of liberty are timeless. The concepts apply as much today as they did over 200 years ago.

Our founders knew firsthand the misery and suffering caused by tyranny. They came from societies where government controlled its citizens with an iron fist. They had a solid understanding of the consequences of unchecked power.

The founders also understood human nature. Throughout history, oppression and subjugation had been the norm. They recognized that power hungry people seeking to dominate others would always exist and be a constant threat to our free society.

Our Constitution was crafted specifically to limit the scope of government to prevent its infringing on individual liberties. It has numerous checks, balances and safeguards designed to prevent the rise of tyranny.

But our Constitution is only a document. Maintaining a free society requires vigilance and participation. There will always be those seeking to subvert the Constitution in order to seize control.

The power hungry claim the Constitution is out-of-date. They assert it doesn’t apply to them. They violate your constitutional rights while claiming to act in your best interest.

An apathetic and gullible populace facilitates the rise of tyranny. Tyrants depend on people’s ignorance, inaction or apathy in order to confiscate power.

Tyrants are cunningly deceptive. They claim their mission is so altruistic that it is worth giving up your liberty on the pretext of being in your best interest. Tyrants operate by suppressing liberty in small steps under false pretenses.

They target one group at a time. They depend on those unaffected remaining silent, because the lost liberty doesn’t affect them. But as liberty incrementally disappears, every group will ultimately be targeted. In short order, freedom is lost by all.

Tyrants exert the power of their position to silence opposition. Liberty thrives on the open flow of ideas in a free society. Totalitarian regimes require the suppression of opposing viewpoints.

It’s difficult for good and decent people to comprehend the nefarious intent of the power hungry, whose sole objective is the subversion of their liberty. These tyrants lie about their objectives. They publicly proclaim to have only benevolent intentions while working persistently behind the scenes on their malevolent goals. This insidious strategy conceals their real purpose under the guise of fairness, safety, health and national security.

America has more liberty than anywhere else in the world. However, those who have grown up with abundant liberty often take it for granted. When freedom is all they have known, they don’t truly appreciate its irreplaceable nature. They have so much freedom that they are not alarmed when their freedom is gradually smothered. By the time they realize their freedom has vanished, it’s too late. Once liberty is lost, and those seizing it firmly entrenched, it is extremely difficult to recover.

Our freedoms are unalienable rights, not privileges granted by government. Every item in the bill of rights is a precious jewel designed to ensure the immortality of our liberty. Don’t allow anyone to subvert your liberty.

Stand up for and speak out in defense of your rights and the rights of others. You must say NO to those who would take your freedom or your neighbor’s freedom. Freedom lost by anyone impacts everyone. When freedom isn’t insisted on for all, freedom will exist for none. All freedoms are essential, not just the ones you benefit from or believe in.

Once one freedom starts to fall, a chain reaction begins that consumes all liberty. Your freedom is hard to get and easy to lose. Although it takes vigilance to protect it, it takes so much more effort to get it back once it’s gone.

Only you can ensure that this Independence Day is not America’s last birthday.

“There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.” James Madison



Mahalo from the Lahaina Red Raiders Wrestling Team

Another Maui Style youth wrestling season has quickly passed, and the Lahaina Red Raiders would like to send out a big “mahalo” to many people and organizations.

First of all, we would like to thank Coach Kim Ball and the Maui Style Wrestling Association. Without their support and hard work, we would not have such a successful season. We would also like to thank Principal Steve Franz and the King Kamehameha III (cafeteria/office) staff for allowing our team to have a place to hold our practices.

We would like to thank and acknowledge Darnell Shepard with Aloha Self Storage Lahaina for donating a storage locker, so we have a place to store our new wrestling mats.

We would like to personally thank all our volunteer coaches (Gerald Ching, Jay Cuaresma, Venus Bravo, Po’omai Keola and Cesar Garcia), who selfishly gave their time, knowledge and dedication to our team and, most of all, to our wrestlers. And to all the “other” coaches who came by to help share knowledge, we thank you (Nick Nakata, Zane Monteleone and Coach Snyder).

We would also like to thank the parents who dedicated their time and commitment to our practices and (very long) matches. We appreciate all the parents who volunteered with “table help,” and for those who help to look after all our wrestlers on the bleachers.

Lahaina Red Raiders would like to give a big mahalo for our generous donation from a private donor. We want to thank Uncle Bob Kawaguchi and the members of Lahaina Hongwanji for helping our team fundraise this past summer.

We may be a new and young team, but we have members who have very big hearts and lots of support from the community!

TERRY SHIBAO, Lahaina Red Raiders