Marianas Variety

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    Tuesday, July 17, 2018-8:20:49P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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OPINION: Not a matter of choice

THE group advocating the construction of a monument for Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan are forging ahead with their fund solicitation project, come tsunami or hellfire. 

 The principal solicitation targets are the Rotary Club and the SNILD’s Donald Barcinas. 

Recently, in a news article, Rep. Donald Barcinas stated to the effect, that come hell or high water, he’s releasing $150,000 of the Saipan-Northern Islands Legislative Delegation money to finance the construction of the Earhart 12-foot monument at the international airport. 

 Barcinas is acting as if he is the one and only legislator elected by the Commonwealth, but he is only from Precinct 3.  And his supporter, Marie Soledad Castro, is from Chalan Galaide, above the old CPO quarters at Navy Hill.  She’s got only one vote. 

Donald Barcinas is ignoring the several objections posted on Variety’s website.   Why doesn’t Barcinas introduce an appropriation bill to fund the re-internment of the ancient Chamorro and give it to DCCA, or set up a tomb of the unknown ancient Chamorros, or set up a memorial for our Vietnam veterans and/or the Iraqi and Afghanistan veterans?

There is a memorial for our veterans across Beach Road from MHS.  An improvement won’t hurt a bit.  These are all directly relevant to Saipan, as well as to the CNMI. 

But, what is Donald Barcinas thinking about when he got elected, and now that Marie Castro is egging him on to give out $150,000 for a monument of someone whose fate nobody really knows except only through some newspapers and presentation by those who wrote books on Earhart and needed support to help sell their books.

Donald Barcinas has never seen nor heard about Earhart and Noonan on Saipan until not long ago.  Where was Barcinas in 1937?  How old was he?  Does he know my niece Josephine B. Akiyama?  Does he know my nephew Dr. Max Akiyama (DDS)?  I bet none of these advocates ever heard of the Akiyamas nor about Earhart until a presentation was put forth here by those who are trying to sell their books. 

None of them ever heard of the fate of Earhart until Akiyama was publicized in the San Mateo Times newspaper, and the news was picked up by Fred Goerner in 1960. 

No one ever found anything on Earhart and Noonan here.  Not even my cousin Nieves who came forth and claimed that she saw a beheading at Puntan Flores (now Lower Base).  She didn’t see anything.  Under a mango tree?  Under a breadfruit tree?  A bit farther away?  Dig at five more places?  Here?  There?  Over there near the stream?  Where? 

Lots of sorry excuses put forth by the book writers for Fred’s not finding a skeleton. 

So, with nothing to introduce as evidence of existence or execution, Donald Barcinas has decided to go ahead and release $150,000 to Marie Castro and her architect to put up a memorial and an obstacle to oncoming aircraft. 

It’s for the tourists, said Concepcion of MVA.  What tourists, Chinese? The Japanese who were busy dodging American fire-bombs?  Would they know or care about Earhart?  How relevant is Earhart to the life of the surviving Chamorus and Refaluwasch?  Zero.

How about the Native American Code Talkers of WWII?  The Comanches, the Cherokees, the Choctaw, the Hopi, the Navajos?  The Algonquin?  The Winnebagos?

Do the Code Talkers have any relevancy to us?  Of course, they have.  They were here on Saipan, fighting as U.S. Marines.  They were Marines and Army radio communicators during the battle of Saipan, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa.  If a memorial is to be put up, it should be for these Native Americans Code Talkers. Among the original 29 Code Talkers were John Benally, and Jimmy King Jr.  The Code Talker project was so secret that it was kept under cover until declassified in 1968.

In 1982, President Reagan declared Aug. 14 1982 as National Navajo Code Talkers Day.

In 2000, President Bill Clinton signed into law  that awarded the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal to all 29 Code Talkers.

In July 2001, President George W. Bush presented the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal to each of the surviving Code Talkers. It was the highest honor the U.S. Congress can award to a person.

So there. I think I have put up a good persuasive argument on why Barcinas should not give $150,000 for the Earhart monument.  Earhart’s relevancy to our life? Zero.  How about to the Native American members of the U.S. Marines Code Talkers and who fought the Japanese Imperial Army and defeated that army right here on Saipan?  You’re asking for relevancy?  You’re looking at it.  The Code Talkers were nationally recognized by three U.S. presidents, as well as the U.S. Congress. This is de facto relevancy.

The writer is a resident of Garapan, Saipan.