April 2011

a new day

Happy Easter everybody. And Passover. And just springtime in general. When the clouds parted this morning to let in the sunshine, we all felt especially optimistic in this house. Hope you guys all felt it too. It’s a feeling I want to bottle up and save to pass around on those darker days.

If anybody knows how to go about doing that, let me know.

I will be much obliged.

Remembering Ron Brown

Last week, the United Nations named the newly built United States Mission after Ron Brown, the Secretary of Commerce under Bill Clinton who was killed (15 years ago this week) in an airplane crash in Croatia, while promoting world peace through international business relations.

He was also one of my father’s closest friends and as such, our families are about as close as you can get to being cousins without actually sharing DNA.

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It is a beautiful building, with a stunning art collection, including a Sol Lewitt installation that forms a spiral leading to a skylight on the top of the structure. During the dedication ceremony, I found myself transfixed, looking up at the red lines and imagining that the words of Presidents Clinton and Obama, both of whom were there to pay homage, were being funeled straight up to Ron’s ears.

“Ron wasn’t a diplomat in the traditional sense,” Obama said. “He argued that when we advance the prosperity of others, we advance ourselves.”  This is an argument that we can all take to heart, and translate into actions in our own lives. We get so busy, and so caught up in our own personal dramas, that we often forget about the big picture. And we lose sight of the fact that the big picture can have a powerful effect on the mirad little moments and issues and problems and triumphs that make up our individual lives.

Ron Brown never forgot the big picture. And that dedication ceremony, in that profound and beautiful building, surrounded by the so many of the people who are steering the world’s events, was a reminder to me, and I hope to all of us, to remember it as well.