A six-foot granite and bronze marker was dedicated last weekend on a North Carolina highway in memory of one of Washington's foremost citizens of his day and a benefactor to all mankind.
The memorial to Dr. Charles R. Drew, the Howard University research surgeon who discovered how to use blood plasma in the way that saved countless lives during and since World War II, was erected along I-85 in Almance County, between Greensboro and Durham. It marks the spot where Dr. Drew perished when his car spun out of control on April 1, 1950, while he was on his way to a medical conference in Alabama.
Among numerous relatives who attended the ceremony were his widow, Lenore Drew; his son, Charles Drew Jr.; his daughter, D.C. City Council member Charlene Drew Jarvis (who was 8 years old when her father died), and a nephew, Col. Frederick Gregory, an astronaut.
According to reporter Zachary D. Smith, writing in the Washington Afro-American newspaper, the circumstances of Dr. Drew's death still provoke controversy.
One widely circulated account has it that Dr. Drew, who was black, was allowed to bleed to death, despite all his accomplishments in blood research, because of racist policies in the local hospital. But Smith quotes sources, including the only black member of the Almance County historical commission, who contest the discrimination account.
Council member Jarvis, through a spokeswoman, said she does not believe her father was the victim of overt discrimination, although she noted that such practices were not uncommon in the South during that period. Burning Question
This is a variant on the old question: which came first, the chicken or the egg? In this case: which came first, the poster or the bear? Answer to the latter: the poster.
Metro Scene, in reporting a forest fire in Virginia, recently recounted that Smokey Bear burst on the national scene in 1950 when a cute, fire-singed bear cub was rescued from a blaze in a New Mexico forest and brought to the National Zoo for recuperation.
A columnist can't get away with anything in Washington.
"We appreciate the reference to Smokey Bear," writes L.A. Amicarella, director of cooperative fire protection for the Agriculture Department's Forest Service, continuing: "For your information, Smokey Bear is the poster bear who was brought into being Aug. 9, 1944."
It was six years later, he adds, when the little bear was brought from New Mexico to become "the living symbol of Smokey Bear. There is still a living symbol of Smokey Bear residing at the National Zoo."
Given all the wildfires already this year, Amicarella concludes, "people need to be reminded more than ever that 'remember, only you can prevent forest fires.' " Loose Construction
What's really needed at the U.S. Supreme Court is a strict apostrophic constructionist.
A sign in the rear driveway of the court building, just off Second and East Capitol streets NE, declares: "Employee's Entrance."
However, it doesn't specify the identity of the one employe who has the right to enter there.