School name outcome disappointing, but came from due process

April 13, 2024

In February I proposed that our new middle school be named after Thomas Hudner, a longtime resident of Concord. He was a Navy recipient of the Medal of Honor, our nation’s highest award for bravery in combat. In an extraordinarily heroic act, he intentionally crash landed his airplane during the Korean War while attempting to save a comrade who had been hit by enemy fire and forced to make an emergency landing. That comrade, Jesse Brown, was a Black American and Hudner’s attempt to save him happened in the wake of President Truman’s desegregation of the Armed Forces — a turning point in American history. Hudner was a historical figure worthy of being an example for our town’s schoolchildren. 

I was disappointed when the School Committee rejected my proposal. But they adhered to due process and the law that prescribes the way in which these decisions get made. They made a judgment call, and I felt we all should abide by that decision. 

Some of our fellow citizens disagreed with the Committee’s decision but are unwilling or unable to acknowledge its adherence to due process. That means that there is now something at stake that is greater than the question of what name goes on the school — are we a town whose citizens believe in due process and the law, or are we a town that pushes due process aside? I urge us all to consider this a closed matter and to acknowledge that our duly elected School Committee ran an open and compliant process which led to a decision. Their decision should stand. 

Michael Zak 

Musterfield Road