By Hawaii News Now
Veterans were outraged when a memorial at Barber’s Point was dismantled earlier this spring without notice.
Now, they’re working to rebuild it and find it a new home.
The Naval Air Station at Barbers Point closed in 1999. That’s when the memorial was first erected on a concrete platform near the old base headquarters.
Over the years, the land changed hands from the U.S. Navy to a land developer and, just a few months ago, that memorial was taken down and destroyed.
Neighbors and veterans have since tracked down all the pieces and are ready to rebuild. However, they are being very particular about where it goes next.
“It’s a remembrance of the fact that the Navy was here, the coast guard was here and this was Barber’s Point Naval Air Station,” said Kioni Dudley, chair of the Kapolei Neighborhood Board.
The man spearheading the move to revive the memorial is Retired Air Force Col. Rob Moore.
“The memorial was destroyed and this is basically the remnants of it now. No lettering, no numbers, no plaques,” said Moore, as he pointed to a photograph.
Moore tracked down the lettering and P3 Orion replica that once represented the Navy’s installation at Barbers Point.
“I went up there and visited and all the letters are up there at Kaneohe,” Moore said.
As part of a deal Moore and other neighborhood partners reached with the state Department of Transportaion, the new monument will go in one of four spots at the Kalaeloa Airport.
Ideally, Moore says he’d like the memorial right out front. Two other possible spots include large patches of grass across the parking lot from the airport itself.
On Saturday morning, he gathered a small group of neighbors and veterans to ask for public input.
“What do you want to see as a veteran, as a part of the public? Where should the destroyed memorial be,” Moore said to the group.
The only hangup is that the Department of Transportation Division of Airports prefers the fourth location behind the gate facing the runway.
“But the access to that area is pretty limited,” said Moore.
“I think that to put it inside of the airport where only people coming on and off of planes can see it is a bad mistake,” said Dudley, who is part of the push to place the new memorial.
Moore and his supporters are grateful that D.O.T. is even willing to provide the land. The impassioned group realizes this is a very localized issue, but say the big picture here is drawing attention to a greater cause.
“So much of our history is just being lost and I really think that we need to get together and make sure that when we have monuments like this that we keep them,” Dudley said.