Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Obits du jour: Agents and spies

I couldn't resist any more and wanted to bring to your attention two obituaries from the past couple of days.

I just saw this one for Charles Gittens, the first black Secret Service agent, who joined the service in 1956. By 1971, when he was named the head of the Washington bureau (OK, wow), "only 37 of the Secret Service's 1,200 agents were black." I wonder what the situation is like now.

He just sounds impressive as all get-out. Love this snippet: "When asked about the chances of being shot as a Secret Service agent, Gittens reckoned he was 'a hell of a lot safer being a Secret Service man that I would be driving cabs in either New York or Chicago'."

OK, and let's just hear it for The Telegraph--in, may I remind you, ENGLAND--for this terrific full-on obit. There's nothing in the NY Times (yet), and the Washington Post--for SHAME--has a reprint of an AP wire story. Just embarrassing, the state of our obituaries.

The Telegraph also did a great write-up for Nancy Wake, aka the White Mouse, who was "famed as a resourceful, dauntless Resistance leader, who topped the Gestapo’s most-wanted list and had saved hundreds of Allied lives." The ending is rather poignant, however, as they report, "In old age Nancy Wake was to be found on a leather stool in the hotel bar most mornings, nursing the first of the day’s five or six gin and tonics." But I suppose if you're in your 80's and have done as much living as she has, why not.


NildaFerrer49 said...

There is something about agents & spies that piques our curiosity and moves our imagination to create a multitude of scenarios about what their life was like.

it's margaret said...

Regarding our want of obits... to run a decent paragraph and a picture can run more than $500 !!!! It is not for want of want!!!!