On this Memorial Day I want to thank all the men and women who have fought to preserve the freedoms we enjoy today here in the United States. I want to acknowledge my friends, Carnot and Barbara Pease, whose son Christian was shot in Afghanistan late last year. They have shown amazing courage and love through their son’s long (and painful) recovery.
Barbara is the president of the local Blue Star Moms—a support group for mothers of soldiers. Her love for all the soldiers and their moms is inspirational.
I want to honor Tom’s family. He comes from a rich heritage of Naval officers and scientists who have contributed in many and varied ways to the greatness of our country.
Tom’s great, great grandfather was Commodore Byron McCandless. Byron not only served admirably, but he was also commissioned by President Roosevelt to design the presidential flag. He also designed the presidential seal that you see on the front of the podium each and every time the President of The United States speaks.
Bryon’s son, Bruce McCandless (Tom’s great uncle) was a Rear Admiral in the Navy. The U.S.S. McCandless was named after the father and son. It was a warship built by the Avondale Shipyard in Louisiana, and was commissioned on March 18, 1972.
Bruce’s son, Bruce II is an astronaut. He was in the control room during the crippled flight of Apollo 13. He would have been one of the men you see in the movie version sporting a fabulous hairdo known as the “crew-cut”.
Bruce II helped design the jetpack that makes it possible for men to walk un-tethered in space. He, in fact, was the first man to do so. The picture of him floating in space is on posters that grace elementary school room walls everywhere.
Thank you again to all our brave men and women who have and are serving this great country. I honor you.