Former Senator Jim Webb (D-VA), decided to turn down a Distinguished Graduate Award from the Naval Academy Alumni Association. Webb graduated from the academy in 1968.

According to the AP, Webb’s sin was an article he penned almost forty years ago, “In 1979, Webb wrote an essay for Washingtonian magazine called “Women Can’t Fight.” In it, he said the presence of women “at institutions dedicated to the preparation of men for combat command is poisoning that preparation.””

Because of something that happened FORTY YEARS AGO, “a small but vociferous group of women graduates” wrote the academy, asking them to rescind the award. They promised to cause trouble at the reception if the academy moved forward with giving Webb the award.

Everything Webb has accomplished in those four decades, including his willingness to serve his country must be overshadowed because of an antiquated opinion.

Webb released a statement:

Over the past few days the decision by the Naval Academy Alumni Association to include me as a recipient of this year’s Distinguished Graduate Award has been protested by a small but vociferous group of women graduates based on a magazine article that I wrote 38 years ago. While this article was controversial, many of these protests have wrongly characterized my reasons for having written it, my views of women, and also my record of government leadership in addressing opportunities for women in the military and in our society. Having opened up more billets for women in the Navy than any Secretary of the Navy before me, it is particularly ironic to see that these same women who are criticizing me for a magazine article in 1979 have benefited so greatly from the policies I unilaterally put into place in 1987.

I did not apply to be considered for the Distinguished Graduate Award, nor did I participate in the decision to give me the award. My classmates from the Class of 1968 nominated me. I believe this nomination was made based on my leadership performance at the Naval Academy, my record as the most decorated combat veteran of this class, my having become the first Naval Academy graduate in history to serve in the military and then become Secretary of the Navy, my having become one of only three (now four) Academy graduates ever to be elected to the United States Senate, and my literary and journalistic achievements, including having written what is widely recognized as the classic novel of the Vietnam War, as well as having received an Emmy Award for my PBS coverage of the Marines in Beirut in 1983. It is also appropriate to mention that I wrote and guided to passage the Post – 911 GI Bill, the most generous veterans’ education bill in history, which has already enabled the education of nearly 2 million veterans.

From conversations with the Alumni Association, including information passed down from top Navy leadership in the Pentagon, it is clear that those protesting my receipt of this award now threaten to disrupt the ceremonies surrounding its issuance. I am being told that my presence at the ceremony would likely mar the otherwise celebratory nature of that special day, and as a consequence I find it necessary to decline to accept the award.

Politically correct revisionism gets another notch in its belt and a great man is deprived of the honor and recognition he deserves.

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