Why does Texas have the Space Shuttle on their license plate?

I was driving through Hagerstown the other day when I happened to notice the license plate of the car in front of me. The driver was from Texas. At least their car was. It was a white plate with a tiny cowboy riding a horse. The was some oil derricks and some sage brush. In the top right corner was a crescent moon. What got my attention what was featured in the top left corner.

It was the Space Shuttle.

Texas has nothing to do with the Space Shuttle

What did the state of Texas have to do with the Space Shuttle? It doesn’t launch from there. The Space Shuttle launches from Florida. It doesn’t land there, even though it is shown landing on the Texas plate. The Space Shuttle lands in either Florida or California. It once landed in New Mexico.

It was not built in Texas. I happen to know for a fact that every Space Shuttle ever built was constructed in Palmdale, California. I know this because I grew up only a few miles from the actual plant where every shuttle was built.

Californians built the Space Shuttle, not Texans.

As a kid growing up, I took great pride in the Space Shuttle. I guess I still do. It bothers me to see that Texas asserting some sort of ownership on something it has nothing to do with. Something like the Space Shuttle.

The day Superboy came to Hagerstown and received a 21 BB gun salute

I never liked Superboy. That was even before I knew he was a paid shill for the National Rifle Association. I wonder if he would feel all warm and fuzzy over BB guns if these kids were shooting BB’s made from kryptonite. Then they might put his eye out.

I somehow doubt it.

My ignorance of Memorial Boulevard

An anonymous person here in Hagerstown responded to my letter to the Herald-Mail about the naming of Memorial Boulevard. The response was published in the Herald-Mail newspaper. This anonymous person, instead of actually writing a real letter and signing it, chose to respond to my letter by phoning it in.

Seriously, they just phoned it in.

The Herald-Mail has something they call “Mail Call.” People can call a telephone number and leave a message. They don’t have to identify themselves. All they have to do it say where they’re from and leave a message. Newspaper staff then sort through these messages and attempt to find ones worthy of publishing.

Here it is:

“This is about Memorial Boulevard. Virginia Magruder, a retired teacher from North Hagerstown High School – many of us had her for English -came in to Council to carefully delineate the history of Memorial Boulevard, and she had researched it. I wouldn’t presume to say what she gave in the way of information that evening, because it obviously is not going to be believed by the writer of the letter about Memorial Boulevard, but to overcome his ignorance on the subject of Memorial Boulevard and what it was to memorialize, and what it means to many of us out here, as the only thing that genuinely honors veterans in this whole community, I would like to suggest that he go to the Washington County library and avail himself of the many materials that are there on the history of Washington County. He gets to believe whatever he wants to believe, but to suggest that Memorial Boulevard doesn’t have any connection with honoring veterans is ridiculous.” – Hagerstown

If I had a chance to speak with this anonymous person from Hagerstown, I would tell them that I did research on the origin of Memorial Stadium. I would tell them that although some in Hagerstown wanted to erect an actual Memorial to World War One veterans, they just never quite got around to doing it.

It’s like calling a road Elm Street and then never quite getting around to planting elm trees on it.

Why would I want to go do research at the Washington County library? I can sit here at home drinking coffee and taking advantage of Internet sites such as Google and Ask Jeeves. I guess I could do the same thing at the Washington County library, but I would have to do it sitting next to a smelly hobo looking for porn.

Hagerstown’s Memorial Boulevard

I wrote a letter into my local newspaper last week, the Herald-Mail. The letter was published in today’s issue. The letter had to do with renaming a portion of a street here in Hagerstown in honor of Willie Mays, one of the greatest baseball players of all time.

He actually played his first professional baseball game here in Hagerstown.

The street that was to be renamed in his honor is where the baseball stadium is located. It actually has true historical baseball significance associated with it.

The street’s name was never changed. Some people were upset because they felt renaming  a portion of Memorial Boulevard to Willie Mays Way would be an insult to military veterans. Nobody is sure why Memorial Boulevard was named Memorial Boulevard in the first place.

It’s my opinion that Memorial Boulevard was not renamed Willie Mays Way simply because he’s black.

It’s not because Hagerstown especially loves military veterans.

If Memorial Boulevard was to honor veterans, where was the actual memorial? The street lacked a true memorial for decades. It took the threat of naming the street after a black man to get people to pay for a real memorial.

My Letter to the Herald-Mail

I’m responding to a letter you published written by Louise Dawson of Hagerstown. In her letter, she states that the reason Memorial Boulevard was not renamed Willie Mays Way was because people complained. The reason they complained she states was not because Willie Mays is black, but because “veterans did not want it changed.”

For the record, I’m a veteran of the U.S. military. I wanted Memorial Boulevard renamed Willie Mays Way. I thought it would be a fitting tribute to one of the greatest baseball players of all time. Not only a tribute to the player, but to the city where he played his first professional baseball game – it’s a fact that those of us who live in Hagerstown can be proud of. The street and the city actually has some historical baseball significance connected to it.

What I am not proud of is the way some of our city’s residents treated Willie Mays. It has been documented that Mays was subjected to racial slurs during the game. He also was not allowed to stay in the same Hagerstown hotel with the rest of his teammates. I, for one, am ashamed of the treatment Willie Mays received here. Renaming of the street in his honor would have been a positive first step in righting a past wrong committed by people of this city. It would have sent the message that the people of Hagerstown today do not agree with the way Mays was treated. Not only is Hagerstown known at the city that treated Willie Mays wrongly during his first professional baseball game because he was black, it’s now known as the city that more recently refused to rename a portion of a street to honor him.

It’s not as though a famous World War I epic battle took place on Memorial Boulevard. From what I can tell, few even know actually what war, battle, or group of warriors Memorial Boulevard is supposed to memorialize. That’s if it was even named Memorial Boulevard to honor anything at all. The fact that few city officials or residents even know why it was named Memorial Boulevard speaks volumes of its significance.

Blame military veterans for not honoring Willie Mays if you must. Just don’t blame this veteran.