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Pink Bunker Has Some Seeing Red

Friday, October 23, 2015

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A group of hikers decided to give a World War II era military bunker in Hawaii a hot pink makeover to help raise awareness of breast cancer.

But some who live near the bunker in Maili are upset that the group members took it upon themselves to deface a historic landmark.

“I’m just trying to get people’s attention that cancer is real,” Howard Militante, who organized the hike but said he doesn’t know who actually painted the bunker, told Hawaii News Now.

“Cancer is serious and it affects each and every one of us.”

Breast Cancer Awareness

October is recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness month, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Each year, the organization campaigns to help not only raise awareness of the disease, but also to remind women to get regular mammograms and encourage others, according to its website.

In addition to the national campaign, many other organizations, businesses and private groups also sponsor events to raise awareness of—and raise funds to help fight—the disease.

Called a pillbox, the bunker sits atop a hill where more than 125 hikers had journeyed to help raise awareness of breast cancer. At some point during the outing, Militante said, the bunker—which reportedly already was covered in graffiti—was painted bright pink.

The paint job has some residents seeing red, according to the news article.

Differing Opinions

“Some idiots have painted the bunker pink on Maili point,” one critic posted to Facebook, according to the news outlet.

Others took to the social media site both in criticism and defense of the newly coated bunker. By Thursday (Oct. 22) morning—less than 24 hours after Hawaii News Now posted the story about the paint job on its Facebook page—more than 120 people had weighed in.

“If it was already covered in graffiti, then it shouldn’t be called defaced because it already was,” said Facebook commenter Arley Harumi Hanako Nozawa. “If anything they covered up ugly unwanted writings and put a positive message out there!”

But Facebook user Susan Timko disagreed.

“Offensive!” Timko said. “Stop with the pink! How about honoring the Veterans who served and died here!”

Prayers for Victims

Militante said cancer is personal to him because several of his family members have died from the disease. He told Hawaii News Now that he had placed a prayer box at the bunker a few weeks ago and asked people to leave prayer requests.

“A lot of the prayers that I had received two weeks ago were praying for family members who are afflicted by cancer,” said Militante.

Still, the avid hiker said he did not mean to offend anyone or cause damage to property.

“If I have overstepped the boundaries or if I offended anyone, I personally, sincerely apologize,” said Militante.

Regardless of public opinion, those who painted the bunker may not be off the hook. Hawaii News Now said that if caught, those who participated in coating the pillbox pink could face repercussions from the State of Hawaii, which owns the property.


Tagged categories: Coating selection; Coatings; Color + Design; Graffiti; Historic Structures; North America

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