Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Seattle Once Knew How to Respect Heroes

I have required reading assignments for Ashley Miller and Jill Edwards.

The books are titled The Black Sheep and Black Sheep One, both written by Bruce Gamble. They contain a wealth of information about the life and military career of Colonel Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, USMC.

In The Black Sheep, there is a picture of a large crowd gathered outside the old Metropolitan Theater on University Street, between 4th and 5th Avenues in Seattle. Banners can be seen that read "Welcome Home, Pappy!" and "Welcome Home, Pappy Boyington!". The caption reads:
Boyington's first stop on the War Bond tour was a three day visit to Seattle beginning September 17, 1945. A crowd estimated at 5,000 gathered for this downtown rally.
Further details of this trip are found later in the book:
Near the Seattle garage where he had parked cars three years earlier, an enormous crowd gathered to see him paraded through the city. Bands played, dignitaries crowed, huge banners proclaimed "Welcome Home, Pappy". The nickname was catching on.

From there it was on to Okanogan, where a writer for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer boasted that all 24,000 inhabitants of the town turned out for the largest parade in the county's history.
In Black Sheep One, Gamble describes the jubilant ticker tape parade Pappy received as he was driven through the streets of downtown Seattle after landing at Boeing Field, accompanied by Mayor William Devin and Washington Governor Mon Wallgren. Both politicians were anxious to heap accolades on "Washington's most famous war hero". As Gamble puts it, Boyington "had Seattle eating from the palm of his hand".

Certainly someone is still alive in Seattle that remembers those events of 60 years ago. Perhaps it would be worthwhile to have those memories passed on to Ms. Miller and Ms. Edwards.

Cross-posted @ Respectfully Republican

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