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The Daily Goodbye

Patricia Sullivan

Good rainy morning, and what a sendoff for the founder of the Weather Channel.

The 1960s division between hardhats and hippies was often more rhetoric than fact, as shown by the life of David Irish Sullivan (no relation), a social and political activist who became a construction worker himself. True to his roots, he then started a building firm in a rough neighborhood, built eco-friendly housing and put local youths to work.

Another unlikely combination -- Guy Stringer was a soldier and entrepreneur before joining the charity Oxfam. His most famous mission came in 1979 when he set off for Cambodia, whose people were starving in the wake of Pol Pot's regime. He hired a huge barge, filled it with rice, seed and other supplies, and had it towed up the Gulf of Thailand. From the Times of London: "Arriving at the port of Kâmpóng Saôm he was met by a platoon of hostile Vietnamese soldiers. In his "rather duff schoolboy French", he offered a cigarette or two and chatted with the platoon leader long into the evening about being soldiers a long way from home. In the end the soldiers helped him to unload the barge. This mission not only brought much needed supplies but also opened the way for subsequent relief efforts."

Even if you're a prominent local citizen, you might be forgotten after death. Thankfully, that forgetfulness was temporary for five people of Cheney, Wash., although the urns containing their ashes sat on a shelf from 37 to 67 years.

Want to live past 100 years old? I hope you're Japanese. More than 40,000 people there have passed the century mark.

History is never that far away. The granddaughter of Booker T. Washington has died in Atlanta. She was 88.

Dick Fogel didn't win any Pulitzer Prizes, nor did he cross the thresholds of major world newspapers, but he helped make the American government more accountable, and its records more open, to the people.

Spare a moment this morning to remember the victims of terrorism in New York, Washington and Shanksville, Pa. eight years ago today.

By Patricia Sullivan  |  September 11, 2009; 8:08 AM ET
Categories:  Patricia Sullivan , The Daily Goodbye  
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