As I am sure you have heard by now, Senator Robert Byrd is no longer with us. At the age of 92 and after 51 years of service in the Senate and 6 years in the House, he is the longest-serving member of Congress.
Drew Nannis, Senior Vice President of Media Relations, and a former Senate staffer, shares this memory of Senator Byrd with us as we recall his many years of service. See his guest post below.
Please share your stories, memories and thoughts with us in the comments...
From Drew Nannis:
Washington (and more importantly West Virginia) mourns the passing of Senate legend Robert Byrd - a man whose idiosyncrasies were outweighed only by the respect he commanded. I never worked for Senator Byrd and my own time working in the Senate was brief - especially compared to Byrd's - but I had one interaction with the Senator that left an impression. Working for then-Senator Salazar, I needed to get my boss' approval on something and was told the Senator was on the floor voting. As I rarely got scheduled time with Salazar (or anyone else), I ran down to stalk him outside the Senate chamber hoping that I could catch him as he went to his next meeting. A typical staff move.
I stood off to the side in the corridor, notes and folders and papers tucked under one arm so I could free another hand for my blackberry. I was engrossed with my head down in the ubiquitous blackberry prayer position we are all too familiar with. As I typed, I noticed a pair of shoes had stopped right in front of me, then the shoes turned so the tips of the shoes were pointing at me. I kept typing, head down.
A few seconds later I noticed the shoes were still there, so I looked up - more annoyed than anything else that someone dare disturb my blackberrying. Right in front of me was Senator Byrd. Despite the fact I was leaning up against a wall, I looked behind me to see who the Senator must have been waiting for. I was alone. "Good afternoon, Senator," I said reverently. Byrd smiled, nodded a hello and shuffled off.
I don't know why he stopped. I know less why he waited for me to look up. I don't know how long he might have waited there if I hadn't looked up. But it left an impression. One of countless impressions left on scores of staffers and millions of Americans over a career focused on leaving just that.
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