I’ve been going to Washington D.C. now for many years, but Wednesday February 24, 2016 was a very different day for me. I went to Washington to watch my friend, former Congressman, Patrick Murphy swear in as Under Secretary of the U.S. Army. This ceremony officially installs Patrick as the Army’s number two civilian. I have known Patrick since he was a Congressman during the years of 2007 – 2011. We have certainly stayed in touch and even so, Patrick served as the General Counsel of my firm, Intersect Advisers.
I was very excited when I got an email invitation to attend the official ceremony at the Pentagon. I’ve been to the many buildings and museums in Washington D.C., but never to the Pentagon. After an early morning train down to Washington D.C. and a few business meetings, I was on the Blue Line Metro headed to the Pentagon.
When I arrived at the Pentagon Metro Station, we walked up a long escalator where I saw Robin Schatz, whom I invited as my guest for this event. We stood in line waiting to enter the Pentagon with Colonel Robert DeSousa, who works with Senator Toomey. Robert was also there for Patrick’s ceremony. We went through two-levels of security before we were escorted to where the ceremony was to take place.
We walked through several long corridors before reaching the auditorium. During our walk, the hallways were lined with photographs of the Army from various time periods such as the Vietnam War, Cambodia, and even Hurricane Katrina. On my next visit, I want to spend more time looking at these photos on the walls. Inside the auditorium, I recognized more people than I expected to and reconnected with some I haven’t seen in a while.
The program started at 2:30 p.m. Eric Fanning, who is nominated to be Secretary of the U.S. Army, escorted Patrick down the center aisle. We all stood while Patrick came to the front of the room. It was very exciting to see the man I have known and worked with for almost a decade to be sworn in as the Under Secretary of the Army.
The program began with a young man, Tim Kelly, singing the National Anthem. What an emotional way to begin. Timmy, 22, has cerebral palsy and is blind. He has become a local legend throughout the Philadelphia community. Patrick first saw Timmy sing at Governor Rendell’s Inauguration several years ago. Timmy also sings the National Anthem at the Philadelphia Eagles home games during the season. After an enthusiastic round of applause, Eric spoke about Patrick. He was lighthearted and entertaining – not what I expected for this ceremony.
Next, Patrick came to the front of the room with his wife and two kids. He put his hand on the Bible and took the Oath of Office given by General Counsel, The Honorable Alissa Starzak. Following the Oath, Patrick extended warm gratitude to those attending the ceremony and a special thank you to his family.
During the closing remarks, I thought to myself – wow, my friend Patrick Murphy is now the second highest-ranking civilian member of the United States Army. It was truly an honor and deeply moving to be invited and to witness this ceremony.
Later in the evening, there was a reception where I was able to spend a few minutes with Patrick to congratulate him for his official position. I said to him that I will no longer call him Congressman, but now I will give him the appropriate respect and call him, Mr. Under Secretary. While we were standing together, I asked a couple of bystanders to take a picture for us. Little did I know at the time that they were Patrick’s parents! I enjoyed meeting them at the reception.
So, Mr. Under Secretary, I applaud and admire all that you have already achieved and can’t wait to see what else you accomplish in your new role!