WA State Senate to UW Senate- Now how hard was that?
Unlike UW, state Senate passes resolution honoring World War II hero
By MIKE BAKER
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER
OLYMPIA, Wash. -- The state Senate has passed a resolution to honor World War II hero Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, just weeks after the University of Washington student Senate shot down a measure to honor the UW alumnus.
Sen. Luke Esser, also a UW graduate, proposed the measure after what he deemed an "unfortunate" incident at his old school.
"He was one of the most heroic fighter pilots in American history," said Esser, R-Bellevue. "Being a guy from UW, I'm proud of Huskies that go on to achieve great things."
The student Senate triggered a firestorm three weeks ago after rejecting by one vote a resolution to create a campus memorial for Boyington. Radio talk shows and Internet blogs quickly chastised the students for the decision.
Debating the issue, UW senior Ashley Miller said the university already had enough monuments to rich white men, according to meeting minutes. Jill Edwards, a UW sophomore, questioned whether a member of the Marine Corps was the type of person the school wanted to produce.
Miller said later her comments were made as part of a general discussion of memorials on campus, not about Boyington specifically. Edwards said she did not mean to offend anyone but was trying to start a discussion.
"Some of the statements that came out of that incident were unfortunate," Esser said. "People make mistakes. I said some things in my youth that I'd like to have back, too."
Most famous for his actions as a Marine ace, shooting down more than 20 enemy planes, Boyington also spent nearly two years as a Japanese prisoner of war. He earned a Medal of Honor.
Boyington's military career, along with his ragtag "Black Sheep" squadron of the South Pacific, became the foundation for the popular 1970s TV series "Baa Baa Black Sheep," starring Robert Conrad as Boyington.
The resolution passed late Monday during a session attended only by the floor leaders of both parties.
"We wanted to give Pappy Boyington the honor he deserves," said Democratic floor leader Tracey Eide, D-Federal Way. "His show was one of my all-time favorites. He was one of our all-time heroes."
After catching so much flak, the UW student Senate was expected to consider a new way to honor Boyington - by recognizing all five former students who received the Medal of Honor. They include Deming Bronson, Robert Galer, Robert Leisy and William Nakamura.
The student Senate could vote on that proposal next week.
"Most students wanted something more inclusive," said Lee Dunbar, student body president. "With this one we have pretty wide support."
The Boyington resolution is SR 8728