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From Denali To Reagan National Airport: When Places Get Renamed

A lone climber stands on the Summit Ridge at Denali, formerly called Mount McKinley. (Mike Powell/Getty Images)
A lone climber stands on the Summit Ridge at Denali, formerly called Mount McKinley. (Mike Powell/Getty Images)

The Obama administration announced Sunday that the highest mountain in the U.S., Mount McKinley, would be renamed Denali – a name used by generations of Alaska natives. Interior Department officials said in documents that there is no offense intended to President McKinley, but that “We are simply reflecting the desire of most Alaskans to have an authentically Alaskan name for this iconic Alaskan feature.”

Here & Now’s Robin Young talks with Derek Thompson of The Atlantic about what goes into the debate over changing a location’s name, and what happens once the change takes place. As in the case of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, the change can sometimes confuse locals.

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