Monday, June 28, 2010

A Geezer Tribute

This morning I heard of the passing of Senator Byrd over night in a hospital in Washington, D.C. His long and distinguished service in the Senate is being applauded by both political parties and speaks to the integrity he brought to service of our nation. Perhaps his distinguished character and courtly manner belies the designation of geezer but as far as I am concerned he represents the quintessential geezer. He lived a long and productive life. He learned from his mistakes and was man enough to admit to them and move on to support justice for all. Would it be that all geezers could perform as well.

Although, I never met the Senator, I did benefit directly from his support for the state of West Virginia. He was instrumental in garnering support for the Appalachian Fruit Research Station of the USDA in Kearneysville, West Virginia. During my years of research on apple harvesting and sorting I had joint research ventures with colleagues at the Station and received financial support for our apple bruise detection work. I suppose some would see Senator Byrd's influence to direct resources to the Research Station as pork barrel spending. However, this support did provide a boost to the entire apple industry of the Northeast and even for the growers in the State of Washington.

Condolences to the Byrd family in the passing of their patriarch. The U.S. Senate has lost one of the greatest members in its history. And also condolences to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the loss of her husband Martin. This couple met at Cornell and formed an unusually successful marriage and professional partnership of mutual support. It is good to appreciate the senior people that have served our country with wisdom and dignity as we approach our Fourth of July holiday.

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