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Montevideo American-News - Montevideo, MN
\x34Rants and Raves\x34 includes everything from political commentary to movie reviews
My son got his name on 9/11
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By Stephen Browne
Steve Browne is an award-winning reporter and columnist who entered journalism by accident while living and working in Eastern Europe from 1991 to 2004. He is the author of two books for English students: \x34Word Pictures: English as it is REALLY ...
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Rants and Raves
Steve Browne is an award-winning reporter and columnist who entered journalism by accident while living and working in Eastern Europe from 1991 to 2004. He is the author of two books for English students: \x34Word Pictures: English as it is REALLY Used,\x34 published in Belgrade, Yugoslavia and Novosibirsk, Russia, and \x34English Linguistic Humor: Puns, Play on Words, Spoonerisms, and Shaggy Dog Stories.\x34 In 1997 he was elected an Honorary Member of the Yugoslav Movement for the Protection of Human Rights. He is currently living in his native Midwest, which he considers \x34the most interesting foreign country I have ever lived in.\x34
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By Stephen W. Browne
Sept. 11, 2013 11:14 a.m.



It seems 9/11 is one generations defining memory, as in “Where were you when you heard about…?”

For my generation it was the assassination of President Kennedy. (Seventh grade home room.)

For my parents generation it was Pearl Harbor.

But 9/11 for me will always be the day my son got his name.

Actually his name had been kicking around for a while. I was living in Poland then and his mother wanted “Jerzy” for an uncle she liked. I suggested “Jerzy Waszyngton” – that’s George Washington in Polish, as a joke.

We were by the way, living not far from “Rondo Jerzego Waszyngtona” at the time. That’s the George Washington traffic circle which has a bust of Washington nearby.

Then one day, a few weeks before our son was due to arrive my then-sister-in-law called up and said, “Turn on CNN right now.”

We turned the TV on and saw the first tower smoking.

I said, “It could be an accident, this once happened to the Empire State Building.”

(On July 25, 1945 to be exact. A B-25 Mitchell bomber hit it.)

Then we saw the second plane hit the other tower.

“It’s terrorism,” I said.

That’s when it was no longer a joke for me. I vowed that my son would be named for a man of rigid honor and inflexible purpose who led his country through its greatest crises.

The tragic irony of it all was, not long before I had lectured at the Ethnographic Museum of Belgrade in Serbia on “Weapons Technology and Culture.” In my presentation I pointed out that an airplane with a pilot willing to die is a cruise missile.

It gave me no pleasure at all to be proven right.

At any rate, that’s how my son got his name. We had a fair amount of difficulty getting his name registered because many European countries have laws about what you can name your children.

I told that story here.

Note: This is cross-posted on my professional blog at the Marshall Independent.

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