Saturday, July 26, 2008

The subject line was “Invitation to the Swearing-In of Joseph LeBaron, US Ambassador to Qatar.” I knew my step brother had been appointed, but was surprised to discover the swearing-in would take place at Portland State University.

PSU president Dr. Michael Reardon, Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul DeMuniz, and Ambassador Joseph LeBaron along with his wife, Ellie, and daughter, Petra, came out the west side door of Simon Benson house one week ago yesterday at 4:00 p.m. and sat in front of a group of chairs under a large canopy.

It is believed to be the first time a career diplomat (Foreign Service officer) has been sworn in as ambassador in a public ceremony held inside the United States but not in Washington, D.C. The ceremony was dignified without in any way being stiff.

Joe’s mother and my father were married at Thanksgiving time during my sophomore year of high school. Our points of connection since high school have been limited, but I’ve watched Joe from a distance with admiration.

I thought I would like to toast Joe at a dinner after the ceremony with extended family. That toast would have been: “To words well chosen; to nuances read accurately; to an open mind and an open heart; to boldness and to wisdom. May the path forward have as much personal fulfillment as this day has had public affirmation.”


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