Republican members of Congress are gearing up for a vote to change the name of National Airport to the Ronald Reagan Airport. The drive for renaming is at full momentum in order to pass the legislation in time for Reagan’s upcoming birthday. But National’s name should remain. Renaming it to honor Reagan is unnecessary and full of ironies.
Reagan already has a significant honor – the massive Ronald Reagan Federal Building on Pennsylvania Avenue. The building is the second largest federal building in the nation. Its thousands of inhabitants, as well as passersby, are daily reminded of Reagan and his legacy.
It is quite ironic that Republicans are pushing for the renaming over the arguments of local officials and residents. The man who fought all his political life for a smaller government and the devolution of federal power back to the states already is honored with a huge federal bureaucratic building.
Now, if the legislation is passed, his name will grace an airport whose workers and neighbors like the current name just fine. The fact that Reagan is remembered by air traffic controllers as the man who fired many of them during their strike in the 1980s and lives thousands of miles from Washington further adds to the irony.
National Airport should remain National Airport. Those who try to honor Reagan by naming just about everything after him are doing him a disservice. The Lincoln, Washington, Jefferson and Roosevelt monuments do their namesakes justice in their uniqueness and singularity. Perhaps a similar honor can be bestowed on Reagan in his beloved California. It is there that he made a name for himself, constantly visited during his presidency and is living out the rest of his life.