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.