Dang, Gradey, that's pretty much what we were doing...I didn't even realize it.I like your idea, though, nominate who you really believe to be one
of the greatest Americans, even if it's your grandmother. Maybe if we added the addendum "living" or in recent memory, because those nominated here
on this thread truly were great Americans. Yet, so is that grandmother who nudged you and supported you and turned you into the person you are today.
It could even be your parents. Small impact great Americans.
Rather than my grandmother, though (sorry, Granny, I know you read this!), I'm going to nominate my grandfather. He taught me to truly love this
nation for her ideals, and see past her foibles. No country is perfect, but America, in my opinion, is the best we've got. That absolutely doesn't
mean we ignore those foibles, though. His life taught me that, being a criminal prosecutor and taking on the mob in Chicago in the 60s, then criminal
defense lawyer, giving a solid defense to those he truly thought innocent (another lawyer tried to go after him for dropping a client because he was
certain he was guilty. Her plan kind of backfired (she perjured herself) and I believe she was dis-bared.), to taking on the most solemn duty he'd
faced his entire life. All this while raising 10 kids! He was even knighted by the Catholic church. Do you realize what this means? He can ride a
horse into any Catholic church he'd like to!
Fun little tidbit I find extremely amusing, but for some reason he won't do it...
In the 1960s, under Attorney General Robert Kennedy, David Schippers lead the Justice Department's Organized Crime and Racketeering Unit. As a
result, his children, including my mom, got used to walking to school every day with two FBI bodyguards on them. He waged war on such mobsters as Sam
Giancana and Sam Battaglia, bringing them down. He did so with integrity and guts. Two stories come to mind that he's told. I may get some of the
details wrong (he's not one of them old fogies who goes on about the same story time and time again), but the general concept will be accurate. Heh,
the names and faces may be changed to protect the guilty
I believe when he was taking on Giancana, he was approached in his office by one of the higher-up thugs. First, I should mention my grandfather has a
bit of a temper
. Guy walks into my grandfathers office, and tell him he going to stop looking in one direction (in the case). Dave's going to
shift his focus, because its the right thing to do. Dave's going to shift his focus because, well, just to let him know, they know where his kids go
to school. The guy named the school, and before his mouth had closed, my grandfather was over his desk, holding the mobster up off the ground by the
collar of his shirt against the wall. "If anything happens to my kids, ANYTHING! I'm coming for you
." The guy backed down really quickly,
saying something to the effect of, "Dave, Dave, we'd never do anything to your kids"
In the other story, the tables were slightly turned. The heat was trying to land a mobster, but the guy's tracks were covered. They couldn't get him
for anything. So instead the cops, very much against my fathers requests and demands, went after his family. The cops toss his family his family in
lock-up (tax evasion or something), then ask him to come into the station to have a little chat. He comes in, and there are many detectives and
lawyers in the room, including my grandfather. My grandfather is the first to speak, saying (and it really sounds a whole heck of a lot better in his
voice, as I'm hearing in my head right now), "I want you to know I had nothing to do with this G*d D#*% Bull&$^%!" He kind of trails off in the end
that leaves no question that he's not angry with this, he's utterly disgusted. The guy responds, "I know, Dave. We know you. It's between you and
He passionately loves this country, so it was with heavy heart and solemn vow to Henry Hyde that he would not be involved in a witch hunt, that he
accepted the position of Chief Investigative Counsel to the House Judiciary Committee investigating the impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton.
Those were the most difficult years of his life. His book,
tale and how disgusted he was with politics coming before justice from both parties (he was particularly disgusted with the Republicans in the
Senate), but to have actually seen him weather those years, knowing him my whole life, is the only way to see the toll this charge had on the man.
Many times he was ready to quit, he even wrote a letter of resignation, but through the encouragement of Chairman Hyde and his own sense of duty, he
stayed the course. It cost him a lot in the public eye, being the focus in tabloids and media attacks. He fought for what was right, and the cost for
that is often high.
My grandfather is truly an inspiration to me, and someone I hold to be one of the greatest Americans in this nations rich history. He raised his kids
to believe that a lie is the worst imaginable thing anyone can do. When confronted with something they did wrong, if they lied, the punishment would
be severe, if the confessed, they would usually only have to remedy the situation (fix a broken window, that kind of thing). He holds the foundations
this nation was founded deeply in his heart, and will answer injustice with his most effective weapon, the law. He is a patriot, an inspiration, and a
role model, and he is who I believe is the greatest American out there right now.