The Washington Post

Happy 70th, Reagan National

Happy birthday, Reagan National. Seventy years ago on Thursday, the first official landing took place at what was then known as National Airport, with President Franklin D. Roosevelt on hand for the ceremony.

(Opening day at National Airport on June 16, 1941.)

Roosevelt had selected the site after announcing that he was “tired of waiting for Congress,” according to a history of the aiport. The new location, 4 1/2 miles south of Washington, replaced two smaller airports located on the grounds of what is now the Pentagon.

The airport opened with just one hangar on June 16, 1941, and served 344,000 passengers in its first year. Last year, the airport served more than 18 million passengers.

National’s history is on display in the historic Terminal A, with more information and photos online at

Ann covers legal affairs in the District and Maryland for the Washington Post. Ann previously covered state government and politics in California, New Hampshire and Maryland. She joined the Post in 2005.


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