CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel appeared to suggest renaming one of Chicago’s airports after President Barack Obama on Thursday, but also sounded confused about how the O’Hare and Midway got their current names.
During a mayoral forum at Chicago State University, the mayor seemed a bit flustered as he answered a question about his quick about-face after he suggested naming a Chicago high school for President Barack Obama, and renaming Stony Island Avenue for the late civic leader Rev. Arthur Brazier.
That’s when the mayor brought up the city’s two airports.
“We have to, in some way, whether it’s President Obama or in the other case, Dr. Brazier, acknowledge people who have done significant things. We have an airport, two of them, named after – Midway Airport, O’Hare Airport – these are people who have been transformative in the city of Chicago,” he said.
The problem was, Midway International Airport is not named after a person at all. It’s named after the 1942 Battle of Midway, a pivotal conflict in the war with Japan during World War II. When moderator Charles Thomas pointed out Midway is not named after a person, Emanuel still couldn’t seem to pin down the origin of the Midway name.
“I’m just saying, but we have airports named after, obviously, battleships,” Emanuel said.
That’s not true of either airport. O’Hare International Airport is named after World War II pilot Edward “Butch” O’Hare, who became the Navy’s first flying ace in 1942, when he single-handedly attacked a formation of nine bombers attacking the aircraft carrier Saratoga, and shot down several of the bombers. He was awarded the Medal of Honor, the first member of the Navy to receive that award during WWII.
Regardless of the mayor’s confusion over where Midway and O’Hare got their names, the mayor’s office told the Chicago Tribune he does not plan on renaming either airport.