This will be my last post until Tuesday, May 27 as I will be spending the weekend drinking my favorite champagne, Pierre Gimonnet, playing golf at the beach in Brigantine, and enjoying time with family and friends.
Of course, we wouldn’t have these amazing freedoms if it were for our armed force. The retail sales, beaches opening, bbqs… I am proud to tell the story of my Uncle Pete. my grandfather’s brother. My grandfather and his 6 brothers fought in the Navy together during WWII. I had one opportunity to meet my great uncles in person, on my wedding day, November 4, 2000. I want to share with you the story that my uncle Pete relayed to me when I greeted him in person for the first time.
My uncle Pete was a stand-out here amongst veterans, not because of what he did during the war but what he did when he relocated to Houston, TX from Passaic, NJ. It began when his degree in Russian history earned him an opportunity to become a translator for the United Nations. During a highly tense General Counsel summit at the UN, between Nikita Khruschev and Andrei Gromyko and the US, my Uncle, interpreting for the US, had to escort Gromyko of the UN. His diplomacy skills and style were flawless.
His most important legacy though was the advocacy work he did for veterans returning home from combat. His ambition and passion, enabled him to rise through the ranks and become the Inspector General for the National Veterans of Foreign Wars Association. As the Inspector General for the National VFW he saw that it was pure administrative issues that were clogging up the system and preventing a higher standard of care. Pete’s charm, tireless advocacy and will enable this change to occur on the state level in Texas.
President George H.W. Bush was in the same VFW chapter as my uncle. During a national convention in 1992, President Bush invited my uncle up to his hotel room and after an in-depth conversation, took off his presidential tie-pin and gave it to my uncle. My uncle accepted it with graciousness and humility but continued to work tirelessly on his core mission – raising the standard of care for returning troops.
Sadly, my Uncle Pete passed away in 2007 but I would like to believe his “fighting” spirit lives on…
Enjoy the long weekend and please, take a moment to give thanks to the veterans of foreign wars and all they have done to make this nation great.