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Letters to the Editor: Why should a bigoted actor like John Wayne have an airport named for him?

John Wayne
John Wayne chats with reporters at the Orange County Airport in 1978.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I agree with one letter writer that in the overall scheme of things, taking John Wayne’s name off Orange County’s airport is unimportant. He can be added to a list of racists and bigots that might easily stretch to the moon and back.

But still, go ahead and take his name off the Orange County airport. As a Native American, I would feel much better about flying out of the airport without having to pass by the statue of a self-avowed white supremacist who believed that taking native land was justified because native people selfishly wanted to keep it.

His words would be laughable if they had not represented his true bigotry.

Lucinda Blackwood, North Hills

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To the editor: I was born and raised in Newport Beach. I went on Wayne’s boat, as did all local school kids, and met The Duke himself. I worked at a local restaurant and bused his table. I saw him put ketchup on his steak; even as a teenager I knew that was horrible.

I was “there” when the airport was named after him. To this day, I disdain the name, but for a reason more fundamental than Wayne’s beliefs: Why should any airport be named after an actor who said other people’s lines? It’s not so much that Wayne is a lousy role model; rather, he never did anything except be a famous actor.

Having an airport named after you is an accolade that should be given only to those remembered for the good they did, so that that kind of life can illuminate a path for others to follow.

John Greenwood, Port Hueneme


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