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Washingtonians May Soon Have Another Reagan Place Name They Won’t Use

Photograph by Flickr user Bill Couch.

Gravelly Point may be renamed after Nancy Reagan if a bill introduced by Representative Jody Hice is successful. The park is across from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, and it’s a splendid place to picnic, play soccer, avail yourself of a portable toilet, or, if the flight-path gods smile upon you, to lie on your back and watch planes landing just overhead.

Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, supports the bill, writing t0 Hice, a Georgia Republican, that Gravelly Point would be a “fitting tribute” to Nancy Reagan. Norquist founded the Ronald Reagan Legacy Project, which works to “encourage the naming of landmarks, buildings, roads, etc. after Ronald Wilson Reagan.” Congress voted to add Reagan’s name to Washington National Airport in 1998, and former US Representative Bob Barr once threatened to hold up Metro funding if the system didn’t put Reagan’s name on signs at the subway station there. Still, that name has never really caught on with longtime Washingtonians, many of whom, especially those who are Democrats, still refer to it simply as “National.”

Should Gravelly Point be renamed, you can expect it to become a similar shibboleth.

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Andrew Beaujon Washingtonian
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Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute, TBD.com, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.