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Pacific Stars and Stripes: Tuesday, May 20, 1997 - Page 17

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   Pacific Stars And Stripes (Newspaper) - May 20, 1997, Tokyo, Japan                              >ACIRC SIMS AND STRIPES „ TODAY, NAY 20,1997 S* Leaky fountain, buckled pavingand ring of dead trees plague me-morial to "forgotten war."The Associated PressWASHINGTON — Dave Pearson, vis-iting from New Hampshire, wasn't surewhat to expect at the memorial honoringthose, who fought and died in the KoreanWar. But he knows he didn't like whathe found..The Korean War Veterans Memorial,which cost $18 million to build and wasdedicated less than two years ago, is fall-ing apart:"With all the money, there shouldn'tbe any reason why it should be likethis," said Pearson, 44, of Sandown,N.H., one of scores of tourists who visit-ed recently. "Most people would be dis-appointed."Bejhind a cordon of yellow police tape,workers were removing hundreds ofgray paving stones that form the centralplaza of the memorial. A cascading wa-ter fountain, a centerpiece symbolizingtranquility, was dry except for a dirtypuddle of rainwater. And only holesfilled with gravel marked the spotswhere $0 shade trees once ringed thefountain. They all died a year ago.Veterans of the Korean War — knownby some as the "forgotten war" — wait-ed 42 years to get a memorial. Even af-ter Congress approved it in 1986, it tooknine years before it was dedicated inJuly 1995. Within months there wereproblems.For the past eight months, several fed-Visitors to the §C®r@@ft War Memorial InDedicated in It95, the memorial liaseral agencies, the memorial's architectand contractors have been trying to findout what caused the plaza area aroundthe fountain to buckle, why all the treesdied and why the fountain hasn't workedproperly.Last week, Democratic Sen. JohnGlenn, the former astronaut who foughtin Korea and campaigned for a memori-al, fired a letter off to the Park Serviceand the Army Corps of Engineers, de-Tbc Associated Pressn look at a ci®§@d«off area.fen into disrepair.manding that repair work be stepped up."It is disrespectful to our Korean Warveterans to see the national memorial totheir service in such a state of disre-pair," he wrote.Retired Col. William Weber, a doubleamputee from the fighting in Korea, saidhe too prays for a quick repair."It's a great disappointment that it'sdeteriorated as rapidly as it has," saidWeber, who was a member of the presi-dential advisory board that worked toget the memorial builtThe memorial, just south of the Lin-coln Memorial and across a reflectingpool firorh the Vietnam Veterans Memo-rial, has a complex design in two parts.One is the fountain and plaza area; theother is a gently sloped hill with 19stainless steel sculptures of patrollingsoldiers — all climbing toward the foun-tain. There have been no problems withthe sculptures.The rest of the monument is anotherstory."It's terribly unfortunate. It's a shamethat visitors to Washington have to see itin this shape," said Earle Kittleman, aspokesman for the National Park Ser-vice, which manages the memorial.Lloyd Caldwell, chief of constructionfor the Army Corps' local district, saidall parties are working to correct theproblems, and the fountain leak hasbeen repaired under warranty. He saidthe problems with the water circulationwere caused by leaves falling from thenearby trees, clogging the filter system.Those trees died and are now gone."Our objective is to have the pool op-erating by the end of this month," Cald-well said. As for the dead trees andbuckled pavement; he said "a final solu-tion^ ... has yet to be determined."Joe Purka of the American BattlesMonument Commission, one of the manygroups that signed off on the monumentdesign, said the problems are "disap-pointing" but not totally unexpected."There's always a shakedown period,"he said.yoitolittle ^S^ $3.00and it will beseen all overthe Pacific.Tell him what• he means toyou... reserveyour spa
                            

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