the blog of DC Drinking Liberally

August 19, 2005

Freedom Walk Wasn’t Free in Original Plan


The NewStandard reveals a new piece of information about the Pentagon’s Freedom Walk (emphasis added):

According to Pentagon spokesperson Lieutenant Commander Greg Hicks, the Freedom Walk registration form was originally designed with the intention of charging participants a fee to defray event costs. The Department of Defense, which has an annual budget well in excess of $400 billion, has since decided to make Freedom Walk a free event.

So under the original plan, the Freedom Walk would have been even less free than it is now (when it just requires personal information rather than a monetary payment). Fortunately someone at the Pentagon thought better of that idea before launching the event. Interestingly, the only change to the “About the Walk” page — aside from a reference to the Pennsylvania crash — is a new question clarifying that it’s not a fundraiser:

Q6: Is this a fundraiser for the Pentagon Memorial Fund?
A6: The Freedom Walk is not a fundraiser but it will bring more visibility to the memorial. To learn how to support the Pentagon Memorial, visit

According to the NewStandard, the Pentagon will be making another change soon in response to criticism:

After repeated inquiries from The NewStandard about the purpose of collecting personal details, Hicks said DoD “will be removing the boxes [on the form] that ask for personal data.”

A NewStandard editor, Jessica Azulay, reflects in a blog entry on whether the reporting itself sparked the change:

Now this was a development we were not expecting and it complicated our reporting. All of a sudden, we suspected, our queries had changed the story. I’m not saying it’s impossible that they were planning on changing the registration form anyway, it would just be an interesting coincidence (and strange that it took them so long to tell us about a pre-conceived decision). So we had to put The NewStandard — and our questions — into the article to show how we may have affected the story.

As well as changing the registration form, the Pentagon says it will be adding a privacy policy. I’ll follow up to see whether those changes happen in the next day or two.

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