Albuquerque Victory

16 December, 2003

From: Bob Anderson

We have had a small victory in Albuquerque city council here with war and weapons.

The Atomic Museum got kicked off Kirtland after 9-11 and moved down to old town with the art and culture scene.  That was ok, but they and the mayor decided to move a Redstone missile from the base down there.  It is 70 feet tall.  The community rebelled, with our help, and the museum repainted the US Army on the missile with USA and said it was an art exhibit and was mainly used to launch space exploration objects, etc.  Problem is the US Army web site lists it as a product of Werner von Braun and Nazi scientists for the US Cold War and was used in Europe as a front line WMD vehicle delivery missile and was used to test an atmospheric wmd blast in 1958.

We have all brought this out and had large rally at the missile Saturday and at city council last night they all said it was ugly in the old town and some came close to agreeing with our weapon message.  All endorsed moving it put so we are making some allies and headway.  The community group had never done anything like this before and were all concerned with the militarism the missile message sent.  Will send you a short article in the paper Sunday.  We made all the local TV and papers.

14 December 2003
Seeking a Missile Ban
By Lloyd Jojola
Albuquerque Journal Staff Writer

It may be the season for mistletoe, but some would rather be greeted with a missile tow.

More than 60 protesters lined Mountain Road on Saturday calling for the removal of the nearly 70-foot-tall Redstone missile, which was erected as a display by the National Atomic Museum in Old Town.

"Old Town just isn't the right place to display a missile and, in particular, to display it the way it's displayed. It just kind of overpowers the whole skyline," said area resident Peri Pakroo.

"Also, to me, it has a symbolic value; it represents war and warfare. I don't think that it's something that needs to be hidden away. I don't think we need to ignore the fact that these wars are fought and war exists. But I think it needs to be done appropriately and with sensitivity."

Since it was put up in October, the display has been under fire by some who think it overwhelms and detracts from the area's cultural image. Others object to a weapon on display.

The Redstone was built as a ballistic missile, but the museum has focused on its contributions as a rocket in the early years of the space program.

"They keep emphasizing the space aspect of it and they keep calling it a 'rocket' instead of a missile," said Samantha Clark, an area resident. "They keep emphasizing its domestic uses. It's almost like a denial of what it was there for."

Area resident Jennifer Hix said, "It's a ballistic missile, regardless of what happened in the space program. And the image of a ballistic missile is not what we want to represent Old Town to either the people who live here or to people who visit."

Jim Walther, museum director, said many visitors wanted to see the exhibits that had been on display at the museum's old location on Kirtland Air Force Base.

"It was easier to do something like (the missile) than a small aircraft, like a jet," he said.

Walther said all the necessary permits were obtained for the display. He also has said that nearby neighborhoods were notified of the project.

The museum has no plans to take down the rocket, Walther said Saturday.

"We followed all the required steps to be able to legally have it here. We're interested in further dialogue with the neighbors about the Redstone rocket."

The City Council is scheduled Monday to take up a measure that calls for the museum to work with the city and residents over the placement of the missile.


Home Page