Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Winston Churchill and the Shadow of a Great Man

I awoke this morning to an email with an attached copy of a press article from the UK. It is my usual practice to read some of the UK newspapers each day to try to stay current with what is happening in the land of my birth. This article was different, however, because it was about me and compared me, or some of my accomplishments, to the man widely credited as the greatest Englishman of all time, Winston Churchill.

The short article was published in the Cornish Guardian / West Briton (the highest circulation weekly newspaper in the UK) and discussed my work on behalf of victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse and child abuse. It made me happy and proud, not because of what it said about me, but rather because of what it said about the person who has most inspired me, my father.

Under the headline “US delivers a glowing verdict to lawyer” it began:

“THE FIRST Brit to have his name up in lights at New York's Times Square was Winston Churchill; the second was a man from Par who you may not have heard of.
But, across the pond, the name of .. lawyer Peter Romary is far more familiar.


He was ranked as one of the top 40 trial lawyers under the age of 40 in America by the National Law Journal (NLJ). [Note: that was in 2002]..He also received the NLJ Pro Bono Award – a papally-blessed knighthood – and the Ellis Island Medal of Honor….”

The article went on to say:

“These achievements were bestowed due to Peter's pro bono (voluntary) work representing female and child victims of domestic and sexual abuse and assisting legislation to help prevent it…Representing 100 victims per year for more than 12 years, he has donated services valued at more than $45 million to victims…… Despite a list of achievements longer than both his arms, Peter has managed to stay humble and grounded.” [I think there are some who may disagree with that last part]

This was wonderful to read, because it went on to talk about my father and the influence he had on me. He was a lawyer, and then a judge and someone I spent hours with as a young man travelling to fencing practice and events throughout the UK (the second comparison to Churchill was that we both won the Public Schools fencing title). We used to talk for hours about the law; life and whatever else came up (when I wasn’t trying to sleep or listening to some inane rubbish on the car cassette player.)

It was my father that inspired me to become a lawyer; it was from him that I learned that the law could, and should be used, as a tool for good. He once joked with me that if I had given $45 million, in money, services or a combination of the two, to a political party I would be an Ambassador for the US or a member of the House of Lords in the UK. He was right, but I did the right thing because of what he had taught me.

I was very glad to see what I had said about him in print in a UK newspaper, I shall repeat it here:

"My father was and still is a huge influence on me and I followed in his footsteps in the hope I could be even half the person he is," said Peter….."As I once said, there is no problem walking in the footsteps or standing in the shadow of someone when that someone is a great person."

There are certain people who just serve as role models to others. They inspire you without having to say a thing; they make you better without needing to utter a word. Over twenty years ago I was asked to do something for the benefit of my father; I did it. No questions asked, no regrets, no second guessing; there never will be. It was almost twenty years before he knew of it (I hasten to add that it was nothing illegal) simply because I knew he would be embarrassed that anyone had “made a fuss” or gone out of their way for him.

What is most inspiring of all is that my grandfather died when my father was still a boy. My father has worked hard for everything he has ever had. First he became an accountant, then a lawyer and then a judge. No one gave him a leg up or a handout, he just got on with it. Whenever I had setbacks, whenever I felt put upon or whenever I was told I did not belong (a refrain heard too often by immigrants) I thought of his example and pushed forward.

We all need role models, leaders, and inspirational figures. I have been fortunate in my life to have had a few great ones, but the greatest of these is my father. So, I thank the press of my home nation for the comparison to Winston Churchill. It is however my sincere hope that one day I will be worthy of comparison to an even greater man: John Romary. I love you, Dad!

16 comments:

  1. Eric, New JerseyJuly 6, 2011 at 4:25 PM

    You just made a grown man, and retired Marine, cry. God bless you and all sons like you.

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  2. You have written some wonderful articles but this by far is the most moving and wonderful to read. Thank you for sharing and I am sure your parents are very, very proud of you.

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  3. Jim Partrick, MDJuly 6, 2011 at 4:31 PM

    GREAT ARTICLE!! This is such a pleasure to read and what a life your father has lived and the things he has achieved. He truly sounds like a great man!

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  4. I just read this from linkedin and I am not afraid to admit it made me cry. Thank you for saying what so many people should say to their parents. My father died before I was able to tell him what he meant to me and that has always stayed with me. Reading this touches my heart.

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  5. Amazing piece, thanks for sharing.

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  6. Great blog that keeps getting better and better. Your father sounds awesome!

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  7. I agree that for that much jack you could have a couple of hon doctorates, peerage, another knighthood (very impressive by the way) and probably be a lord. It is good to see a multi-millionaire (mouthpiece to harsh?) put their money where their mouth is and do good work.

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  8. He who save one life save the world entire.

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  9. Pretty sickening to me that anyone would compare a trial lawyer who has made millions off the suffering of others, just like Johhny Edwards, to one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known. How much did you have to pay to get your name in lights in Times Square?

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  10. Why don't you grow up! This man has done more to help victims of abuse than any other lawyer I know and he has put his money where his mouth is. What have you done for victims lately?

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  11. It is good to see that your obvious government connections and apologist stance for the most egregious exceeses is somewhat tempered by a humanitarian bent. Have your government friends been involved in getting you some of these rich rewards, i wonder?

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  12. I wonder why the anonymous haters can never just see good for good. A truly moving piece about someone and their love and respect for their father is a wonderful thing, no need to bitch about it. I am so glad to see someone so willing to give back and go out of their way to help others.

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  13. I read the article in the Guardian and it was wonderful. Many of us are still waiting to see when you will make your move into politics for you would surely be a natural and as the article said your list of awards is longer than both your arms. You have done and continue to do great things, honour your family and save lives, thank you, Peter, for all you do and continue to do.

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  14. I can't believe you people believe this crap!!! Comparing this to Sir Winston Churchill....

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  15. @Anonymous: You are a moron and obviously a little person with some serious jealousy issues. The Times Square recognition was the comparison, this was a piece about respect and love for a father from everything I took away and from the comments what most others took away. I wonder if you are some closet wife beater who has issues with people who take on wife beaters: you sure fit the profile, grow up!

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  16. All the doubters and critics - do you actually know Peter? Just a thought....

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