Friday, June 04, 2010

MEMORIAL DAY: LT. COL. HENRY J. PLAWER AND HIS LIFE OF SERVICE

This is from May 25, 2009.  I moved it up so everyone who walked this way with Colonel Plawer would see the important comment that just came in.  It was very special to receive it so close to memorial day.  Thanks, John.  Know your loss is shared by many.  

Henry Plawer died last week.

You can read about Henry's remarkable life of service in his recent obituary. What follows is what you will not read, precisely because of the kind of man Henry was and the noble life he led.

Henry's life cannot be journaled without compelling the conclusion that his life and service were distinguished. Yet those who knew him in his adult life never heard him boast, or engage in any self-promotion. He was always content to make his contribution and let someone else's star shine brighter than his own. His parents were humble people and they passed that natural humility on to their son, no matter his achievements.

Even more unusual than his natural humility was Henry's strength. His life was neither linear nor smooth. He endured at least four major life crises. When is use the word "crisis" in its plural, I am not talking car repairs or toothaches. Any one of them would have broken, or at least changed, an ordinary man. Henry rebounded, as the same solid guy, each and every time. He focused on family and service. He survived terrible things by turning to giving and, through giving in so many ways to so many others, he saved himself from being altered. How did he know to do that? I take it on faith that is what he learned at home. That is what he saw modeled. Now that he is gone, those of us who loved him will have to practice more of that in his memory.

Humble and Strong. Who among us can't learn from that?

Henry's last act of service was leaving us a life lesson, one we all need.

A brother in the administration of justice, a brother in arms and the truest of friends. It comes many Memorial Days too soon but Henry is the only possible subject for this day.

Goodbye too soon, Colonel.

9 Comments:

At 6:22 PM, May 25, 2009, Blogger Persephone said...

I met Henry 7 years ago through aikido, and in the short time that I knew him, he managed to make an impression on me. He was a good friend, and he is sorely missed.

 
At 9:19 PM, May 25, 2009, Blogger UMRBlog said...

Thank you for coming by.

Your choice of words is interesting. Henry managed to make an impression without ever trying to make an impression.

Were you there when he hurt his hand (about three weeks ago)?

TYFCB

 
At 10:25 PM, May 25, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all, thank you for your post. I met Henry when I was an 11 year old boy scout looking to join a troop. I reached the rank of Eagle five years later with his help. Henry played an important part in my life as a young man. Henry was at every Monday night scout meeting, every campout and every summer camp. I spent six days in the backcountry of New Mexico at Philmont Scout Ranch with Henry. Not until I grew older did I fully appreciate his guidance. I am proud to have known Henry Plawer. He will be greatly missed.

Jason Mangold
Houston, TX

 
At 6:14 AM, May 26, 2009, Blogger UMRBlog said...

Oh, Jason, if you had any idea of the humor grief Henry took for that trip!

We even prepared a fake indictment for "Transporting Minor Children Across State Lines".

Then the next year another one of our crew went to Philmont and Henry briefed him and helped him as to what it took to give the kids a good experience.

There were about ten of us working in the same office and, in a sense, we all took that trip to Philmont twice. Good to hear from on of the "across state lines" kids.

Best to you and TYFCB

 
At 11:28 PM, May 29, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never realized when I was a little girl that I had a remarkable big brother. I never realized when I was a young woman, starting my own military career and raising a family that I had a remarkable brother. But when I moved back hone after the death of our father to take care of my mother, I started to get to know my brother. What a remarkable man he was. What a learned man, what a funny man, and what a man of God my big brother was. Just as I was getting to actually know him, he left. He was deployed to Bosnia and Iraq. I think he is now on his final deployment and we, his family, will miss him something terrible. Betsy, aka The Brat aka The youngest sister

 
At 7:00 AM, May 30, 2009, Blogger UMRBlog said...

Thanks, Bets

 
At 8:30 PM, May 31, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Civility. After practicing law in the middle of the Pacific ocean for a number of years where most contacts between lawyers were akin to feeding sharks, when I returned to my hometown, Henry was one of the first lawyers to demonstrate civility. (Tony I think you were the second and I will always appreciate that lunch.) Henry and others showed me that lawyers in our area generally are civil and attempt to work in a cooperative manner. I will always remember Henry for his kind words and the extra books in my library when he moved. We will all miss you.

 
At 1:55 PM, June 02, 2010, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today I am sad and shocked, I went searching the Internet to see if I could find an address for Henry as I had some news to share with him. Instead of an address, I found tributes.
I had just become a Scout leader and wanted him to know that. You see, Henry was my Scoutmaster when I was a boy, 25 years ago, and it was thanks to his influence that now I was now becoming a leader to young people.
Henry was the reason I stayed in Scouts. Henry was the reason I became an Eagle Scout. Henry was the reason I went to Philmont twice as a youth. Henry was the reason I worked on staff at Philmont as a Ranger for two summers. Henry was the reason for a lot of things in my life, most of them I probably don't realize. His unselfish donation of his time, his vacations, and his own money to help boys largely went unrecognized at the time by us boys who just took it for granted that Henry would be there. At weekend campouts, at summer camp, for 2 weeks at Philmont, Henry was there.
Looking back at it Henry had a large influence on my life and now that I am a leader to young adults, I was going to thank him for helping me. Now I wont be able to do that. The world is a less bright place now.
John

 
At 7:05 PM, June 03, 2010, Blogger UMRBlog said...

John,

Sorry you had to hear about it this way. Your service to scouting is absolutely the best way to carry forward Henry's generosity. Thank you for a few more moments in the sunshine of his friendship.

 

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