I’ve read that Barbara had a phrase that she lived by, “Never complain and Never explain.” From what we know about her, the motto fits her to a “T.”
She marched to her own drumbeat. She was independent and voiced her own thoughts. No wonder her husband and kids are so successful and patriotic.
In 1990 at the Wellesley College graduation, she delivered the speech. I have it. She quoted a story from the previous year’s speaker. It was about Robert Fulghum’s experience. A young pastor told a story for children about, “Giants, Wizards and Dwarfs.” He said they needed to pick one for themselves-a giant, a wizard or a dwarf.
At that moment, a little girl began tugging his pants leg. She asked, “Where are the mermaids?” The pastor responded with the words, “There are no mermaids.” She said, “Yes, there are. I’m one. I am a mermaid.”
Barbara Bush took off. Challenging the graduates to become the best they could be. Make choices that matter. “Believe in something larger than yourself; life must have joy. Life is to be fun; cherish your human connections: family and friends.” These 3 points were the basis for her speech.
WHAT A HERITAGE OF KNOWLEDGE BARBARA BUSH HAS LEFT US.
The other incident I share with you is about a man you probably never heard of. I didn’t until my daughter, Debra, sent me an article about him. MOE BERG. He was born on March 2, 1902 and died on May 29, 1972 at age 70, and is buried in Belleville, New Jersey. Moe played baseball from 1923-1939.
Berg graduated from Princeton University and Columbia University with a Law degree. Morris “Moe” Berg was an American League baseball catcher and coach. He played for several Major League teams for fifteen (15) years. Cleveland Indians, Washington Senators, N.Y. Yankees, Brooklyn Robins, Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox.
Casey Stengel said of him, “He is the strangest man ever to play baseball.” Why? Probably because he spoke fifteen languages. English, Latin, Greek, Spanish, Italian, Sanskrit, Japanese, German, Chinese, Korean, Indian, Arabic, Portuguese, Hungarian and Yugoslavian.
Moe graduated from both Princeton and Columbia Universities with Magna Cum Laude recognition. By the way, in 1939 Moe participated three times on the radio quiz show, Information Please, winning it.
All this information is minimal compared with the major contributions he made to the United States and we citizens. In the mid 1930’s he was approached by the Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner of the CIA. He became a spy for our country. No one and I mean it literally ever knew about it until after his death.
His exploits were revealed recently. Without a doubt, he was instrumental in making four major victories for the United States and Great Britain in World War II.
In 1934 Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig headed up an All-Star group of Major League baseball players to go to Japan for an exhibition series. Moe was included, in spite of his limited skills as a catcher.
In Tokyo, wearing a kimono, Berg took flowers to the daughter of an American diplomat being treated at the famous St. Luke’s Hospital-the tallest building in the Japanese capital.
He never delivered the flowers. He went to the roof and filmed key features of the military installations of the Japs. Wherever the teams played, he took significant photos.
Eight years later, General Jimmy Doolittle used his films to bomb the military facilities.
He was later parachuted into Yugoslavia and Winston Churchill used his information to defeat Marshall Tito’s forces. Churchill awarded him the highest medal of England for his valor.
The same experience followed in Norway. But probably his greatest achievement was when he was sent to Switzerland-in disguise-to report on the plans for an atomic bomb by the Germans. If they were near to develop it, he was to kill the scientists and then take cyanides in suicide. They were not and he did not.
After the war, he was awarded the Medal of Freedom. To protect what he had done, he refused it, but following his death, his sister accepted it. It hangs in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
MORRIS “MOE” BERG CERTAINLY FULFILLED BARBARA BUSH’S CHALLENGE.
Amen. Selah. So be it.