Return to Brussels for the 50th Anniversary of the NATO Infrastructure Committee

Published: December 28th 2011
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Having spent eleven years as the United States Representative to the Infrastructure Committees, when the inviation arrived to attend the 50th anniversary celebrations in Brussels, I immediately accepted. It would be a wonderful opportunity to meet former colleagues.

I hadn't been to Brussels since leaving in November 1995, so this would also be an opportunity to see our former neighbors and visit the places we enjoyed so much.

Mike and Betty kindly allowed me to stay at their home and even let me borrow their car.

Before the official events kicked off, my former boss Dave invited a close group of friends for dinner. It was good to see those I first met when I moved to Brussels in 1984. Most of them had moved back to their own countries by 1986 or 87 as their tours at NATO were usually three years.

The first official event was a cocktail party at the NATO Staff Center. This was our first opportunity to meet all of our former colleagues who had accepted the invitation. For some reason, none of our UK colleagues were there. While this was a disappointment, there were still many friends from all the other nations.

Interestingly enough, I met a former U.S. Representative from the early 1950s. He had gone on to do bigger, if not better, things. His name is Jerry Facher and he worked for a law firm in Boston which defended a large company that had been accused of contaminating the ground water leading to the deaths of many people; perhaps known best as the lawyer portrayed by Robert Duvall in the movie "A Civil Action." He was mostly interested in what had happened to the program since he left in the mid-1950s. Well, a lot!

The next day we met in the North Atlantic Council's room and heard many speeches. Then we had lunch and that was it.

I took the opportunity to visit with Eduard and Julia, our neighbors in Overijse, and to tour Brussels and its suburbs, recalling with fondness the many happy years we lived there, and had all three of our children there.

It was over too soon, but I recalled my promise to my children to take them back to Brussels before Tamara graduated from high school; a promise I kept in April 2004.

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