If there is one thing I dislike more than a taste of winter, it's getting up on a cold morning. If it were up to me, I'd stay in bed through April and then pop up like a daffodil.
But this morning, reveille sounded and I was off Downtown early to attend the Veterans Day Breakfast sponsored by the Friends of Danang, which has a special place in my affections.
The Friends of Danang was founded a decade or so ago in Pittsburgh by Vietnam veterans and others who wished to bring reconciliation and healing to a country where Americans and their allies once fought a war (Australia was one of those allies and that is how I first got there).
The Friends of Danang has undertaken several humanitarian projects around the city of Danang, including the building of a school, a medical clinic and a bridge linking two villages separated by water during the rainy season. It is about to embark on a new project: the building of another school.
Brian O'Neill wrote about the non-profits' good work in his "Around Town" column on the Portfolio page this morning "The Friends of Danang: Making Good on Their Mission to Help the Vietnamese People."
This was the 10th Veterans Breakfast and it's been a big success story, providing a convenient place for those veterans who wish to go on and march in the parade.
The first event was attended by 32 people. This morning at the Marriott Pittsburgh City Center at least 450 people took part. The organization's founding Friend and resident saint, Tony Accamando, received a special award for his service from his fellow Friends, a gesture which went much against his humble instincts. No one deserved to be honored more - and no one could have been more embarrassed. After giving a brief thank you, he shook his head repeatedly as if to say: "It's not about me."
Sadly, we don't see that much in America these days and I am glad I got up early enough on a cold morning to see it.
For more details on what the group does and how you can help, go to http://www.friendsofdanang.org/
Note to Toadsley on my previous blog: I came from sub-tropical Queensland. While they must have some deciduous trees, there can't have had many and I don't remember ever raking leaves.