Monday, February 20, 2006

More thoughts on Pappy Boyington

There has been plenty said already about the Pappy Boyington memorial, but a couple more items popped up that are worthy of note.

The first two are courtesy of andrews-dad:

First was a resolution introduced in the Senate to support Military recruitment:

A Resolution in Support of the Right of Military Recruiters to be Present on Campus

WHEREAS the military provides meaningful career opportunities for many students; and,

WHEREAS the military is also the defender of our freedoms and way of life; and,

WHEREAS at the Seattle Central Community College campus military recruiters were attacked by protesters last year; and,

WHEREAS we want to make sure this kind of intolerance does not happen on our campus, therefore


THAT we support military recruiters' right to be on our campus, and

THAT we support ROTC's continued right to be present on campus, and

THAT we further support and respect the fine men and women who serve our country.

The cynic would argue this is guilt, the skeptic would say it is just appeasement. Maybe it is someone trying to do the right thing, but both agree that the resolution is unlikely to go anywhere.

The second is a resolution to force Senator Jill Andrews to apologize for her disparagement of the military in general, and specifically the USMC.

Edwards Apology

WHEREAS Student Senator Jill Edwards offended all members of the United States Marine Corps, past or present, dead or alive; especially those who were, are, or will be students at the University of Washington with her comment that she "didn't believe a member of the Marine Corps was an example of the sort of person UW wanted to produce." This commented brought shame and dishonor to not only the UW Student Senate, but also the University as a whole, all its members who have served in the Marine Corps and all Marines past and present.



Student Senator Jill Edwards will submit, in writing, a signed apology letter seeking forgiveness to all students, staff, and alumni who are now or ever have served in the United States Marine Corps. In said letter it will contain a formal apology and a recognition that her very rights and freedoms are guaranteed by such members of the armed services, to include the Marine Corps, Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard, past or present, living or dead. Additionally, said letter will be printed in all its form and substance in that day's edition of the UW Daily newspaper as well as being recited on the UW Radio station. To realize her mistake, she must acquaint herself with the history of the person she is so keen to dismiss, by reading Col. Boyington's book, Baa, Baa, Black Sheep. All of these requirements are mandatory, under pain of losing her seat on the Student Senate.

Again the cynic and skeptic immediately conclude this is another empty resolution, but it is refreshing to see the senate in arms of this.

Debate is healthy and who knows, they may actually learn something.

The final link is from Paradosis, who relates his real life encounter with the real Pappy Boyington, and how he feels about the controversy.

We don't need to honor any more rich white males

So says one member of the University of Washington Student Senate. And here is a picture of the rich white male this person was speaking of:

Gregory Pappy Boyington...graduate of the Univeristy of Washington (went to High School in Tacoma), winner of the medal of honor, shot down 28 enemy aircraft, was a prisoner of war for 20 months, and apparently does not - according to the student senate - deserve a memorial on campus. Apparently we are told that he "is not the type of person we want to honor" and some even went so far as to liken his duty in WW2 to murder. One of the biggest antagonists of the proposal was apparently the leader of the student Democratic Party. How sad.

This issue is particularly interesting to me because I personally knew Pappy Boyington, not so much as a friend, but as a regular visitor to the Chino Air Museum and Air Show. I met him on numerous occassions and thoroughly enjoyed his willingness to tell me stories about his experiences - and I must say it was HEAVEN to this young man who'd rather feel his way around a restored Corsair than hang out at the mall with his contemporaries.

Pappy was famous for once saying: "Just name a hero and I'll prove he's a bum." And he knew this from personal experience. Pappy's childhood wasn't easy and he and his mother had to work VERY hard to get him through school - he was no rich boy and neither did he live off government grants...personally I wonder if those students who "shot this memorial down" could remotely say the same? And he was a real human being who did not hide his faults, particularly with alcohol and marital problems. Like all heros, no one is a "super" hero. While Pappy could work hard, he could "play" hard too and landed himself in trouble from time to time. Here is a more detailed story...from the University of Washington oddly enough.

Also, clearly, the student who made the racist statement never met him because I will tell you that you could not mistake the Sioux in him. And while he did write a best-selling book (best selling authors are a dime a dozen), he was never really a rich man...rather he spent most of his last days wandering through Air Shows reliving the glory days, never in any grand luxury that I saw. He seemed a very nice man, who despite his personal problems did some extraordinary things to help defend freedom and defeat tyranny and injustice.

But, have our Washington youth revised history so much as this? To compare Boyington (or for that matter any of our WW2 vets) to murderers? What are these kids being taught today? They don't deserve those 20 months Pappy spent being tortured and beaten in a Japanese prison camp...they don't deserve any of what our grandfathers and grandmothers sacrificed to free Europe and the Pacific. Is it perhaps because those precious people are soon to be gone that we feel free to engage in leftist amnesia? I'm angry about dare these snot nose, hemp-wearing, pot smoking, drum beating, dreadlock wearing, "gee when is the financial aid check going to arrive", brat kids diss Pappy Boyington?

Maybe REAL rich white guys ought to be offended (like Bill Gates and Paul Allen) and stop donating money to the UW and then the Student Senators will find they don't have the time to be in the student senate because they need to get themselves real jobs.

If any WW2 vets read this blog, please accept my apology on behalf of the University of Washington - and particularly thier ignorant student senate. We remember what you all have done. My kids will remember too.