Wednesday, May 11, 2005

An air of familiarity

When some people suggested changing the name of Baltimore-Washington International to honor Baltimore's own Thurgood Marshall, a familiar litany unfolded. Though the state House voted to rename the airport Thurgood Marshall Baltimore-Washington International, the Senate snagged it:

Sen. Paula Hollinger, D-Baltimore, chairwoman of the committee that will consider the bill in the Senate, said Monday [back in March] she doesn't know what will happen in her committee.

''I have an open mind,'' she said.

''I think we should name something major for him,'' Hollinger said. But she said it might be more appropriate to name something related to the court system to honor his achievements as a lawyer and the first black justice appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Delegate Emmett Burns, D-Baltimore County, sponsor of the bill, said supporters will not settle for anything less than naming the airport after a man they said is a state and national hero.

''We are told we may lose the competitive edge if we put the name Thurgood Marshall on the marquee. Isn't that strange?'' Burns said at a rally held prior to the evening sessions of the Senate and House of Delegates. ''They didn't stop flying into Reagan National'' when the airport serving the nations' capital was renamed to honor the former president, he said.

Senate President V. Mike Miller has suggested there might be more appropriate ways to honor Marshall, such as naming a law school after him.

A compromise resulted: "BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport." The hallowed branding appeal of "BWI" is not lost.

Yesterday, they celebrated the new name (Baltimore Sun, registration req.), which will be effective Oct. 1.

No comments: