From the Horse’s Mouth

With all of the controversy around here about Jim Marshall and Charlie Norwood, I decided to actually contact his Congressional office about the renaming of the Augusta VA hospital. His office’s well thought out response is below. Enjoy.

Thank you for contacting me about renaming the Augusta VA hospital after the late Rep. Charlie Norwood. I guess Rep. Jack Kingston was already committed to the idea when he first asked me to co-sponsor. I regretted and told Jack that I thought it was inappropriate. I also told Jack I’d be pleased to support any appropriate tribute to Charlie.

Frankly, given his military experience, I think Charlie would find Jack’s proposal inappropriate as well. Sure, Congress has the power. And sure, elected officials often name things for other elected officials, too often in my view. But except for the power part of it, we politicians are not some special class of Americans deserving praise and glory. Charlie would certainly agree with that. And given his love of the military, I think Charlie would say, as I do, that military facilities should be named after those who have made truly unique and extraordinary contributions to the military or the security of our nation.

Tens of millions of Americans have conscientiously served in our military. Millions have served in combat. More than one million have given their lives or been severely wounded in combat. Tens of thousands have been decorated for acts of heroism. Some politicians, only a few, are widely recognized for having made extrordinary contributions to our military. Among Georgians, Senators Carl Vinson, Walter George and Sam Nunn come to mind.

More than one Georgia medic gave his life trying to aid a fallen soldier. At least thirty one Georgians have received the Medal of Honor. And at least one hundred and fifty have received the Distinguished Service Cross. Macon’s Sgt. Rodney Davis earned the MOH when he died using his body to shield his Marine comrades from a grenade. Augusta’s Lt. Col. Aquilla James Dyess, another Marine, received the MOH for repeatedly exposing himself to withering fire while leading his men to victory in a ferocious fight in the Marshall Islands during World War II. He was killed toward the end of that fight.

Naming the hospital for one of these individuals or others who made truly unique and extraordinary contributions to the military or the security of our country sends the best possible message to our military, our youth and to those using and serving in the Augusta VA facility.

That’s the military standard for naming decisions like this one. It should be ours in Congress as well.

Please let me know if I can help in any other way.

29 comments

  1. Federalist says:

    Excellent point. I do not understand all this ruckus about naming a hospital after Norwood though. Name a highway after him or something. America’s mediocre monuments and memorials (this is not to say that all of them are mediocre) are rather pointless. Park benchs, bridges, creeks, parks, etc. this is so meaningless why even bother debating it.

  2. drjay says:

    whatever, still sounds petty to me even if his staff can dress it up w/ a well worded letter…

  3. LakeGuy says:

    You know, this issue is really unimportant to me, but I agree with Marshall here. I think this is a good point. Name a bridge after Congressman Norwood. I don’t mean to sound disrespectful, but I do believe, that there are dozens of military heros who should rightfully be honored by having the VA hospital named after them.

  4. Holly says:

    We do have a Dyess Parkway. It goes from I-20 in Columbia County to the gates at Fort Gordon.

  5. Know Nothing says:

    If Whitehead is to bomb UGA, could it be the statistics building so I don’t have to go to my final later in the week?

  6. Federalist says:

    I am sure he would bomb everything except for Sanford Stadium…well the bench atleast, since that is where he spent his seasons “playing” football.

  7. ToddH says:

    I used to have to take the Dyess Parkway every day to work when I was stationed at Fort Gordon. It is there, my God is it there.

  8. Doug Deal says:

    It is great that the Honorable Mr. Marshall takes such a strong stand against a Republican who tried to have him defeated in the past election. Let’s see how steadfastly he holds to this conviction when it is a Democrat.

  9. Demonbeck says:

    Between this and Marshall’s vote for Speaker Pelosi, Marshall may hang himself before Gen. Goddard even begins campaigning.

    Congressman Norwood served his country with honor as a soldier and a Congressman. Very few people came claim such a distinguished record. His service may not have come on the battlefield and he didn’t give his life in defense of this nation, but he damn well deserves this honor.

  10. Nick says:

    This is absolutely ridiculous. All the problems we have in this country and you people are mad at a good man like Jim Marshall for not putting Charlie Norwood’s name on a building. Come up with an actual issue that you disagree with Marshall on. This is a waste of time. If you ask me the Georgia Delegation should be working on Comprehensive Immigration bill, instead of slandering the people actually brave enough to try to get a solution instead of doing this. But then again, this is why the Republicans are in the minority. Name buildings, highways, solve no problems.

  11. GoUgaDawgs says:

    A few things:

    1) Carl Vinson was a Congressman, not a Senator. Probably would help to know that….

    2) That response contradicts itself. The VA Medical Center in Dublin is named after Carl Vinson.

    3) It isn’t like this is a partisan issue! Look at the names of the folks, both extreemly conservative and liberal that have already signed onto the bills, both in the House and Senate.

    4) It isn’t like other names can’t be added eventually. In the South, we tend to add names to our football stadiums, often multiple names all the time too.

  12. GoUgaDawgs says:

    A few things:

    1) Carl Vinson was never a Senator, only a Representative.

    2) Very hypocritical since in his own district, the VA Hospital in named after Carl Vinson.

    3) This isn’t a partisan issue. Just look at the names of those that have signed onto the bill. It ranges from the most conservative to the most liberal.

    4) In the South, we have quite a history of adding names to buildings and stadiums after multiple people. Just look at the multiple names on football stadiums and basketball arenas throughout the SEC and ACC.

  13. Booray says:

    Give me a break. This is all about evening the score with a dead man who campaigned against him ain’t got squat to do with Medal of Honor winners.

    Covering it up with all the talk about Medal of Honor winners (and even using Charlie’s own name by saying Charlie would not have done this!) is exactly what Charlie Norwood would never have done.

    Pettiness in the extreme.

  14. GoUgaDawgs says:

    A few things:

    1) Carl Vinson a Representative, never a Senator. Might want to get the facts right.

    2) Very hypocritical since in his own district, the VA Hospital in named after Carl Vinson.

    3) This isn’t a partisan issue. Just look at the names of those that have signed onto the bill. It ranges from the most conservative to the most liberal.

    4) In the South, we have quite a history of adding names to buildings and stadiums after multiple people. Just look at the multiple names on football stadiums and basketball arenas throughout the SEC and ACC.

  15. BroadStreet says:

    Although I read Peach Pundit every day, I have been wary of ever posting on it because most of you are quicker and wittier than I am. But on this issue, I felt compelled to say something.

    On numerous occasions, I have heard Marshall indirectly refer to himself as a war hero. He is. I believe he is in the Army Ranger Hall of Fame, and I personally salute him and I humbly thank him for his service to this country.

    I say that to say this. First, if he considers himself a war hero, I wonder if Congressman Marshall would have this same moral argument if they were trying to name a VA facility after him when he passes away. I doubt it.

    Second, Charlie WAS a war hero. He served this country in the 173rd Airborne Brigade and risked his life every day from 1968-1969 during his tour at Quin Yon, An Khe, and LZ English at Bon Son. The Army agreed with his status as a war hero and awarded him two bronze stars and The Combat Medical Badge. The Association of the U.S. Army inducted him into their prestigious Audie Murphy Society. He also remained active in the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Military Order of World Wars from his arrival back home until February, when he died.

    And finally, as a Congressman, few Members were as committed to America’s veterans as Charlie Norwood, as evidenced by the fact that he was instrumental in the passage of TRICARE for life and the expansion of the TRICARE dental benefit.

    If Jim Marshall does not want to sign on to this bill because Charlie worked to beat him this past fall, that’s fine. I honestly believe THAT is the issue. He’s blocking this bill, just as he showed his disdain for Charlie by being the only member of the Georgia Delegation that did not come to Augusta for Charlie’s funeral. But for Jim Marshall to hide behind the fact that Charlie Norwood is not “hero enough” to warrant naming the VA hospital in Augusta after him is offensive, not to mention a flawed argument. It is flawed because Charlie was a war hero and Charlie worked hard for all veterans as a Congressman.

    I sincerely hope that the record of Charlie’s military service to this country and work on behalf of veterans in Congress are not lost amongst your discussion, whether you agreed with his politics or not.

  16. gatormathis says:

    Points well made Broadstreet….

    If you was a “first-time” caller to the John Boy and Billy Show, and made such a profound commentary………..

    ………it probably would have warranted a “double moo”……..

    One thing Marshall better get used to is “politics”. You beat ass to enter the game, and until exited, you are the “game”.

    The faces may change, but the “rules” are still the same.

    On “game day”, you beat the hell outa each other. And it would not amaze me to think Cong. Norwood “sided” with Marshall’s opponent, who was a friend and former collegue.

    But on days when “respect” is required, then you best be “respectful”.

    I was in a funeral procession last Sunday for an old and dear friend. We traveled part of the way on a four lane highway, complete with grassed median and all.

    As I looked over at the oncoming lane, I noticed the cars and even a semi, pulling over, paying respect to the departed. A person they likely never knew.

    This is the kind of respect Marchall needs to learn.

    Funny, it don’t cost nuthin……….

    ….it don’t hurt nuthin either…….

  17. MidGaDawg says:

    “Don’t cost nuthin… don’t hurt nuthin…. ” — not much of an argument, if you ask me. Respect doesn’t mean you have to name public facilities after people. I’m not sure how I feel about this one, but I do know that I was sure until I read Marshall’s excellent explanation. Now… I see his point.

    BroadStreet, I appreciate your explanation of why Norwood is deserving, but doesn’t most of what you listed there apply to dozens, if not hundreds, of other vets? None of them have hospitals named for them.

    The most important quote I take away from this, that I think everyone will initially agree with but might not actually take to heart: “…except for the power part of it, we politicians are not some special class of Americans deserving praise and glory.” Amen.

  18. Toddrob says:

    Let me ask this question: Why is Marshall in the Ranger hall of fame? he was inducted in 2006. I have been on the website and it says you can be inducted not for what you have done in the military, but what you have done in elected service. maybe Mayor or congressman. I know serveral Army Rangers that are well deserving of the induction that i am sure will never be considered because they were never a mayor or congressman. I am not trying to dimish his military service and i am sure i will be burned in effigy for making this point. just thought it should be made.

  19. Demonbeck says:

    “i am sure i will be burned in effigy for making this point.”

    Nope, but you will be warmed in mockery of your failure to spell diminish properly.

  20. Toddrob says:

    Section 1 of the ACTUAL legislation:

    SECTION 1. FINDINGS.

    Congress finds the following:

    (1) Charlie Norwood volunteered for service in the United States Army Dental Corps in a time of war, providing dental and medical services in the Republic of Vietnam in 1968, earning the Combat Medical Badge and two awards of the Bronze Star.

    (2) Captain Norwood, under combat conditions, helped develop the Dental Corps operating procedures, that are now standard, of delivering dentists to forward-fire bases, and providing dental treatment for military service dogs.

    (3) Captain Norwood provided dental, emergency medical, and surgical care for United States personnel, Vietnamese civilians, and prisoners-of-war.

    (4) Dr. Norwood provided military dental care at Fort Gordon, Georgia, following his service in Vietnam, then provided private-practice dental care for the next 25 years for patients in the greater Augusta, Georgia, area, including care for military personnel, retirees, and dependents under Department of Defense programs and for low-income patients under Georgia Medicaid.

    (5) Congressman Norwood, upon being sworn into the United States House of Representatives in 1995, pursued the advancement of health and dental care for active duty and retired military personnel and dependents, and for veterans, through his public advocacy for strengthened Federal support for military and veterans’ health care programs and facilities.

    (6) Congressman Norwood co-authored and helped pass into law the Keep our Promises to America’s Military Retirees Act, which restored lifetime healthcare benefits to veterans who are military retirees through the creation of the Department of Defense TRICARE for Life Program.

    (7) Congressman Norwood supported and helped pass into law the Retired Pay Restoration Act providing relief from the concurrent receipt rule penalizing disabled veterans who were also military retirees.

    (8) Throughout his congressional service from 1995 to 2007, Congressman Norwood repeatedly defeated attempts to reduce Federal support for the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Augusta, Georgia, and succeeded in maintaining and increasing Federal funding for the center.

    (9) Congressman Norwood maintained a life membership in the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Military Order of the World Wars.

    (10) Congressman Norwood’s role in protecting and improving military and veteran’s health care was recognized by the Association of the United States Army through the presentation of the Cocklin Award in 1998, and through his induction into the Association’s Audie Murphy Society in 1999.

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