Commentaries, Global Warming, Opinions   Cover   •   Commentary   •   Books & Reviews   •   Climate Change   •   Site Links   •   Feedback
"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
WEBCommentary Guest
Author:  Larry Simoneaux
Bio: Larry Simoneaux
Date:  February 26, 2006
Print article - Printer friendly version

Email article link to friend(s) - Email a link to this article to friends

Facebook - Facebook

Topic category:  Other/General

"Black Sheep" not welcome.

I come late to this one, but I thought I’d add my two cents.

There’s been a bit of a dust up going on at the University of Washington.

It’s over a recent proposal to erect a monument there to honor Colonel Greg "Pappy" Boyington.

Colonel Boyington was a Marine Corps pilot who commanded the "Black Sheep" squadron during some of the toughest fighting of World War II. He was credited with shooting down more than 20 Japanese aircraft before he, himself, was shot down and then spent almost two years as a prisoner of war.

For his leadership, bravery, and accomplishments in the war, he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

The uproar over the proposed monument came when the minutes of the Student Senate meeting were published and several statements made therein came to light.

I’ll not name the student "Senators" making the following statements as, in the past week or so, they’ve already had their nonsense more than amply pointed out.

I quote now from the minutes of the meeting:

"XXXX questioned whether it was appropriate to honor a person who killed other people. She said she didn’t believe a member of the Marine Corps was an example of the sort of person UW wanted to produce."

"YYYY commented that many monuments at UW already commemorate rich white men."

Ignoring (with great difficulty) the above, one has to wonder whether these individuals have even a cursory understanding of that war or, for that matter, our history as a nation.

As regards Colonel Boyington, I wish someone would inform these individuals that on December 7, 1941, the United States of America was attacked at Pearl Harbor.

In that attack, our Pacific Fleet was crippled. Had the Japanese bombed the fuel storage areas on Oahu, it could’ve been worse. Had our aircraft carriers been in port, the Hawaiian Islands would’ve been in jeopardy. Had we lost the Hawaiian Islands, the next piece of solid ground to fight over was, basically, California.

In the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, we declared war on Japan, Hitler declared war on us and the world went up in flames. In the days and weeks that followed, we and our allies suffered a run of defeats that gave new definition to the word "gloom."

In passing, we lost Wake Island and the Marine garrison stationed there. We lost Hong Kong, Borneo, Guam and the Malay Peninsula. We lost Bataan, Corregidor, Manila and the Philippines in their entirety. We lost Indochina and Burma. We lost Sumatra, Java and Borneo. Attu and Kiska were occupied, as were the Solomon, Marshall, Mariana, Gilbert and Caroline Island chains.

In an ill-fated attempt to stem the tide, the British Navy lost two battleships - H.M.S. Prince of Wales and H.M.S. Repulse.

Things weren’t going much better in Europe. France had surrendered. Belgium and Holland had been overrun. Norway was occupied. The Russians were being chewed up. Merchant ships were being sunk at a horrendous rate and England was hanging by a thread. The candle of freedom was guttering.

Even when we got back on our feet, WW II was a closely run thing. Guadalcanal was in doubt for months. Midway could’ve gone the other way. Rommel almost made it to the Suez Canal. Stalingrad came within a hair of falling. The German Army was finally stopped in the very suburbs of Moscow.

It took several years to end that war. It also took something else. It took the bravery of men and women the world over who decided to stand and fight for what they believed in.

Those men and women did extraordinary things. Some were so extraordinary in terms of audacity, determination, and sheer guts that Americans who performed such feats were awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions.

Colonel Greg "Pappy" Boyington was such a man. We needed such men back then and we should get down on our knees and thank the Good Lord that we found them.

The proposal to honor such an individual was not something to be denigrated by the puerile comments of student "Senators" far removed from an understanding of what defending a nation – or a world, for that matter – sometimes entails.

I understand that a new proposal for a monument to honor all five University of Washington alumni who’ve won the Medal of Honor will be offered in the near future.


One just hopes that the student "Senators" who previously offered their "thoughts" on the memorial to Colonel Boyington now understand the truth behind a statement once made by Abraham Lincoln.

"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."

Larry Simoneaux

Send email feedback to Larry Simoneaux

Biography - Larry Simoneaux

Larry Simoneaux is a regular columnist for The Everett Herald in Washington state. He is a retired ship driver for the US Navy and NOAA.

Read other commentaries by Larry Simoneaux.

Copyright © 2006 by Larry Simoneaux
All Rights Reserved.

[ Back ]

© 2004-2023 by WEBCommentary(tm), All Rights Reserved