Got a couple of phone calls from irate citizens about a “circus” occurring out between the USS Bowfin museum and the Arizona Memorial Visitors Center. This is what I found — a “big top” semi-permanent tent sheltering an increasing number of private venders and a pre-fab toy house that has seized the handbag security concession from the Bowfin.
What’s the deal? Americans are notoriously touchy about Pearl Harbor — it is one of the national landmark sites considered “sacred ground” in our nation’s veneration of war dead. Anything that seems like inappropriate commercialization smacks of defilement.
Turns out, thanks to the Navy’s routinely ham-fisted approach to interpreting history, it’s all legal. This is what happens when government functions are privatized — entrepeneurs are in it for the cash and not because it serves the public interest. But you can’t blame them. That’s like blaming leopards for their spots. Nope. The pressure to privatize comes from the top down.
I held on to this item until the Star-Bulletin’s Rob Perez got a heads-up and filed a story on the issue.
Hey, if we’re cashing in on our war dead, anybody up for a I Got Bombed at Pearl Harbor T-shirt?