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‘America is Being Attacked’

Bin Laden’s killing brings back memories of 9/11 on Maui.

June 30, 2011
Joseph Sugarman · former Maui Weekly publisher, who has served in military intelligence and the CIA

It was 4 a.m. when the phone suddenly rang. The caller was a business associate from the Mainland. “Turn on your TV,” he said. “America is being attacked.”

I watched in shock the video of the repeated attacks on the Twin Towers in New York.

All flights were cancelled. There were no flights in or out of Maui. Thankfully, it was during a lull in the visitor season, and there weren’t many visitors on island. Hotels made special provisions for guests who were stuck. Schedules were cancelled, and in short, it was a chaotic time on the islands. But there were the phone calls.

All the phone lines were jammed and it was difficult to get through to anybody. The few calls that were connected had a similar theme. “You guys on Maui have nothing to worry about. Who would want to bomb Maui?”

But we did have something to worry about. Since our mail was delivered by air, there was no mail delivery. Since some of our food was also shipped in by air, that was a problem and supermarkets started to run dry.

At the time, I was the publisher of the Maui Weekly and covered the various stories along with Dave DeLeon, the editor. One of the stories was particularly interesting and it ran in one of our issues following 9/11.

David Marciano was a top executive at Cantor Fitzgerald in the One World Trade Center building. He had offices on one of the top floors and a corner office with views of New York. It was so beautiful that few could imagine anything more spectacular. But Marciano had a dream. He was tired of the corporate grind. Tired of the pressure. And even though he had a nice salary, he wanted to fulfill his dream of living on a beautiful island—Maui.

When his bosses received Marciano’s notice, they were very disappointed. When his parents found out, they couldn’t believe he would do such a “stupid” thing. His friends at Cantor Fitzgerald thought he had gone off his rocker. Everybody who knew of his plans questioned him as if he was making the most idiotic career mistake of his life.

He moved to Maui, and a few months later, the Twin Towers were attacked and all his friends were killed on that fateful day. His parents thought he must actually be a genius. His move, although it seemed “stupid” at the time, saved his life. And although he lost all his co-workers, he had fulfilled his dream.

There were many stories during the days after the attack, and many of them played out on Maui. With no way to leave the island, many opened their homes and hearts to help those who were stranded.

The capture of Bin Laden indeed stirred many emotions. But it also brought back a lot of memories—some of which were certainly unique to this island in the Pacific.



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