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Are we putting history in a moving van?

Posted: Sunday, August 19, 2001

If it makes sense to move Alaska's capital from Juneau to Mat-Su and to hold legislative sessions in an abandoned Wal-Mart, let's consider other potential relocations of similar merit:

The Liberty Bell from Philadelphia to Leavenworth, Kan. Inmates: "Let freedom ring."

The Statue of Liberty from New York Harbor to "Area 51" somewhere in Nevada. And you thought Juneau was inaccessible...

Steve Reed is managing editor of the Empire. He can be reached at streed@juneauempire.com.

The White House from Washington, D.C., to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, with NAFTA's seal of approval.

The Alamo from San Antonio, Texas, to Mexico City.

Mount Rushmore from the Black Hills of South Dakota to Beverly Hills, Calif., 90210.

The USS Constitution from Boston Harbor to Benton Harbor, Mich. New digs for Old Ironsides.

The U.S. Constitution from the National Archives in Washington, D.C., to the offices of the National Enquirer in Lantana, Fla. Endless headline possibilities.

Congress and the Capitol from Washington, D.C., to Wal-Mart's world headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. The Alaska capital move on a national scale.

The Washington Monument from the Mall in the District of Columbia to the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn.

The Lincoln Memorial from Washington, D.C., to a Lincoln dealership in Lincoln, Neb.

The Baseball Hall of Fame from Cooperstown, N.Y., to Williamsport, Pa., home of the Little League World Series.

The New York Stock Exchange from Wall Street to Skid Row in Seattle.

The New York Yankees and Yankee Stadium from the Bronx to Graceland in Memphis.

Fort Knox from Kentucky to Las Vegas.

The Iditarod from Anchorage-Nome in March to Barstow-Bakersfield in August. Did we finally get their attention?

What's wrong with these facetious makeovers? Everything.

A state capital is not a 24-hour convenience store with plenty of parking and a drive-thru window.

As Alaska's territorial and state capital, Juneau has an honored place in our state's history. History is not written on a chalk board at a theme restaurant to be replaced tomorrow by the latest chef's special.

When a sports franchise moves from Houston to Nashville, from Oakland to L.A. and back to Oakland, or from Baltimore to Indianapolis in the middle of the night, we watch in disgust as fans are abandoned, history is discarded and traditions are cheapened.

Is that what Alaskans, including those wielding the power of the state's population center, really want?

Is it time to toss history into a moving van and park it at an "accessible" strip mall?

You don't have to live in Juneau to know the answer.

But you have to be pretty selfish to pursue the wrong one.

Steve Reed is managing editor of the Empire. He can be reached at streed@juneauempire.com.



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