Visit Makes Loss Clear
Gabbard Tamayo signed the Book of Condolences
in London to extend Hawai'i's aloha following
the July terrorist attacks.
The signing was emotional for Tamayo as she reflected
on the grieving in London, the fighting in Iraq
and the deaths of Hawai'i-linked troops.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Tulsi Gabbard Tamayo, a Hawaiçi
National Guard and Army Reserve soldier with the 29th
Brigade Combat Team, is on a yearlong deployment to
Iraq. This is her account of a trip she took to London
while on R&R. Her report is one in an occasional
series The Advertiser will publish from citizen soldiers.
Aloha from London.
Tulsi Gabbard Tamayo (Special to The Advertiser)
I've been in Iraq for the past six months with the 29th
Brigade Combat Team. My turn for R&R came up, and
though it was a really tough choice not to come home,
I decided to take my vacation in Europe — less
travel time to get here and also an awesome learning
But also, after the terrorist attacks in London, I felt
compelled to visit here and pay my respects on my way
back to Iraq. I contacted Mayor Mufi Hannemann to see
if he'd like to make a proclamation of condolences that
I could present on behalf of the people of Hawai'i,
and he was happy to do it under very short notice.
While London's Mayor Livingstone was unable to meet
with me personally, I was able to present Honolulu's
proclamation to his manager of international affairs,
Susannah Pickering-Saqqa. I also had the opportunity
to sign a message in the Book of Condolences, extending
Hawai'i's heartfelt respects and warmest aloha.
The room was very quiet as I signed and it was really
quite a heavy moment — thinking about the terrible
feeling of loss the people of London are experiencing,
the fight that is ongoing every day in Iraq against
these insurgent terrorists, the losses we have felt
in Hawai'i, and how best to convey all of these emotions
in a short written message.
And, yes, I have been riding the "tube" and
buses all over the city — and they are always
crowded. So even though there is definitely heightened
awareness and probably a greater sense of fear, people
here seem to be happy and upbeat, and are going about
business as usual.
I have had a very nice R&R traveling through Europe,
but for me, to be here in London to pay my respects
in person has been the highlight of my trip and the
perfect ending to my vacation. As a proud local girl,
former state representative and a soldier fighting against
terrorism in Iraq, this was truly an honor and a treasured
experience. I couldn't ask for anything more.
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