I love this picture of you. For so many reasons. You are outside getting fresh air. You are smiling. You have friends. But mostly, I love the fact that you have a medal around your neck.
The wonderfully inventive folks at Juniper led a discussion about the Olympics the other day. Afterwards they handed out medals, as well as flags.
Beau, you love the Olympics. The sport; the international locations. We watched them every four years together, especially the swimming events. I know you hoped that I’d be there one day. I did qualify for the Trials in the 50-free in 1988. But shoulder issues forced me into retirement. I had the great opportunity of seeing those races in Seoul, however. I know you were proud of the medals I earned in my career.
I have a big award for you, dad. Some very exceptional people have taken an interest in your life’s work, and my book about you. I am humbled and honored to tell you that one of your favorite politicians, Newt Gingrich, and one of mine, Bob Kerrey, have crafted the introduction to Brain in a Jar. Both Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Kerrey served as co-chairs of the Alzheimer’s Study Group last year. They see what this disease is doing to the healthcare system and families everywhere. It’s a crisis of staggering proportions, as you well know and predicted.
You earned this, Beau. You worked so hard, like an Olympic athlete, to heal your patients and yourself. You also served your country during the Vietnam War by caring for the wounded at Clark Air Force Base. You are an American hero. And an award-winning father.