A is for amnesia

Someone call Jay Greene--officials are now naming schools after nonexistent historical figures! Our fourth president officially has a middle initial in Ogden, Utah, though it would be news to him. Seems someone submitted the name "James A. Madison" to the school board as a possible moniker for the district's new elementary school. How he or she came up with the wayward A is anyone's guess; perhaps it just felt right. After all, lots of big-name presidents have had middle initials: FDR, Dwight D. Eisenhower, JFK, Richard M. Nixon, William Jefferson Clinton. Even Harry S. Truman had a middle initial (though the "S" wasn't short for anything. Apparently, he just liked the way it sounded.). Surely, the well-intentioned folks of Ogden may have reasoned, the man who wrote the Bill of Rights and helped draft the Declaration of Religious Freedom was important enough to carry a middle name. A local history teacher caught the error after School Board President Don Belnap missed it, despite majoring in history in college. "It's not that critical of an issue," he said. "We'll just take the A out." That happens this week, when the board votes to officially rescind Madison's ill-gotten middle initial.

"School asks, ‘Who is James A. Madison?', United Press International, August 18, 2007