BWI-Thurgood Marshall Airport?

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Your Opinions

Thoughts on issues relating to Anne Arundel County

April 17, 2005

The General Assembly has passed a bill that would rename Baltimore-Washington International Airport in honor of Supreme Court justice and civil rights leader Thurgood Marshall, a Baltimore native who died in 1993. As a compromise, lawmakers agreed to add Marshall's name to the end of the airport's and to require Board of Public Works approval. Some worried that changing the airport's name would obscure the identity of Maryland's largest airport and hurt efforts to compete with Washington's two airports. Proponents said the gesture would serve as an appropriate sign of respect to a national pioneer for racial equality.

Last week, we asked whether BWI should be renamed after Marshall. Here are some of your views:

Donors should pay renaming expense

I have no problem with renaming BWI Airport to honor Thurgood Marshall or any of the other famous Marylanders who gained national prominence and respect. But those interested in renaming the airport must be required to raise the money necessary to do so, via private donations, just as was done with the World War II memorial.

Renaming airports and other government landmarks to honor individuals is becoming an all-too-common practice with our politicians. Likely, as the demographics of our state changes, our heroes will change, and in 50 years the airport could again be renamed to honor somebody else.

The state of Maryland should not pick up the tab for the posturing of our local and state politicians. The entire cost of this venture must be paid for by those who are interested in seeing the name change, not the hard-working citizens who are already taxed to the hilt and likely don't care if our airport is known as Thurgood Marshall, BWI, Francis Scott Key, Babe Ruth International or just plain Maryland Airport.

Michael P. DeCicco Severn

Keep airport's name simple

I would not like to see the name of BWI changed. I believe that a more fitting monument can be found to name in honor of Thurgood Marshall. The name of the airport should remain simple.

National Airport's name may have been changed, but it is still National. Changing the name to Ronald Reagan National was a waste of time and money. A lot of time, money and effort have gone into building and marketing BWI. Why throw that out?

John G. Lipman


Find another way to honor Marshall

I am against naming the airport after Thurgood Marshall. I'm in favor of him being recognized in some way, but not by changing the name of our airport.

Mary L. Bailey Glen Burnie

Nationals' stadium may be fitting tribute

I agree that the cost of renaming BWI is just not justifiable, but moreover to confuse the branding of BWI's airport code to millions of travelers could cost the region untold revenue.

Instead of the next sports facility being sold to WorldCom/MCI, or the next Enron or PSI, perhaps it would be a good time to honor Thurgood Marshall's good name. How about the new stadium for the Nationals? Now that would be fitting.

Dan Powell Annapolis

Changing name could hurt airport

I do not think that the name should be changed. I feel that the change would hurt the airport.

Cynthia Durm Henderson

Name change could cost many businesses

There are currently more than nine states in which buildings, schools and libraries are named for Thurgood Marshall, more than four of which are in Maryland, not to mention the statue and memorial in Annapolis, as well as various scholarships, fellowships and foundations.

With all due respect to honoring Justice Marshall, we believe it would be more detrimental than beneficial to rename BWI. Not only would our airport no longer be identifiable as serving the Baltimore-Washington area, but we need to consider the effect on the multitude of businesses that rely on the name BWI as part of their individual identities - UPS, FedEx and the airport taxis to mention a few.

In addition to the $250,000 expense proposed in the renaming bill, who will pay for the changes in business stationery, advertising, Web sites, etc.? And how about the maps and road signs that would need to be changed? Why not just honor the Supreme Court justice by renaming a lounge or wing of the airport?

James E. Hayes Odenton

Name would be unknown to most

No. I think BWI should not be renamed at all. Friendship was first and nice. Then it was changed to BWI, which everyone knows as the Baltimore and Washington area, but the other name you want is unknown to most people.

Also, it's a mouthful. And costly. If you want to spend money, build overhead roadways from Baltimore to Virginia and other areas to help the flow of traffic.

Ellen Hance Jessup

Preserve airport's current identity

I agree that someone of Thurgood Marshall's status should be honored. He accomplished a lot of good for people of all races during his time on the Supreme Court.

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