As the world somberly remembers the 2001 World Trade Center tragedy of 9/11, I can't help but pause and remember another devastating disaster that occurred on this same day in 1992.
"Life is a tragedy," wrote Jonathan Swift , "wherein we sit as spectators for a while and then act out our part in it."
At about 1:30 pm, Hurricane Iniki roared through the Hawaiian Islands. At F-5 strength, the highest classification possible, the eye of Iniki (the Hawaiian name for Enid) roared directly over the island of Kauai with sustained winds of 130 mph.
South shoreline hotels and condominiums, especially around the Poipu resort area, were ravaged by ocean surges and wind. Crops were extensively damaged throughout the Garden Isle. "The storm...left the island looking like a crumbled cracker," reported writer Trish Moore.
"I saw total devastation. It broke my heart," said Kauai mayor JoAnn Yukimura. "There is incredible human suffering in terms of loss of homes and dislocation of their lives."
With gusts of over 200 mph, Iniki knocked out the island's telephone and electricity service. Yukimura could only communicate with Hawaii Governor John Waihee via ham radio.
It took 40 days to restore electricity. Telephone service was gone for almost a month in some areas. And 80% of the homes were damaged or destroyed. Iniki left over $2.4 billion in damages.
Filmmaker Steven Spielberg, caught on Kauai while filming Jurassic Park, waited out the storm in a hotel. "This was a real zinger," he said.
Look for the blessing in everything.