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University building scars the issue for an eternity

Date Posted: 2004-11-26

Ginowan residents are torn between keeping the building as it is, or making repairs and moving forward.

The building is the Okinawa International University administration building, where three months ago a U.S. Marine Corps helicopter clipped its rotor blades into the wall while making a crash landing on the school campus. The heavy lift CH-46D Sea Stallion helicopter burst into flames shortly after impact, scarring the wall with smoke.

Three Marine helicopter crewmen were injured as they landed the out of control aircraft, avoiding a nearby schoolyard. There were no civilian casualties.

Some residents want to keep the burned wall as it is, a sign of remembrance about the August 13th crash. They say it’s a part of history, as students will be curious. To date, 5,447 people have indicated they want to see the black wall remain a part of Okinawa International University.

“I would like to forget about the accident quickly,” says an opposing voice. Another says “we don’t want people to see a show building.”

Those favoring retaining the wall as is say “children are shocked when they see the wall,” but if it’s gone, everyone will forget about the accident and not think about the Futenma Air Station problem.” Both sides have a perspective about the tourist busses filled with mainland Japanese who stop and survey the site.

Some want repairs, and some even are calling for tearing the building down and replacing it. OIU officials say they don’t have money to build a new building on the private university campus.

Koukichi Nakamura, a community leader, says “the two different opinions are going on so strongly, we still need to do a public survey to get the answer.”

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