Gen. Norman Schwarskopf was laid to rest Thursday at West Point. I knew many people who knew him and I had my own brief encounter with the general one evening.
They were announcing that Hinesville had been added to the route for the Olympic torch as it made its way through Georgia, a last-minute venue as the Torch and its bearers crossed the state from Savannah to Atlanta.
We had a reception at the Chamber of Commerce to announce Hinesville’s addition. I asked somebody how Hinesville managed to get on that route at a time beyond the 11th hour.
They pointed to a large, broad-shouldered man a few feet away. “There’s your answer,” they said, motioning to one Gen. (ret.) Norman Schwarkopf, former commander of Fort Stewart and the 24th Infantry Division and at the time a vice-president of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games.
I introduced myself to him and thanked him for getting our little hometown on the Torch route. He had a broad, engaging smile.
And after covering the Torch coming through Hinesville and seeing what it meant and the impact it had — even on another brutally hot summer morning in deep southeast Georgia — it was quickly one of the best events I had covered and have ever covered.