Thursday, August 10, 2006

Dinner with a celebrity

Dinner last night was at Plaza III with some business associates and agency partners.

It's one one of the nicer places in KCMO, so if you're going spot a celebrity in this town, it would just as well be there.

And, since it is rumored to be George Brett's favorite restaurant (I've heard he likes it more than his own restaurant), it wasn't a surprise to see him walk in while we were picking at our hors d'oeuvres.

But that's not the celebrity I'm referring to. The person I met and had pleasant conversation with wasn't a celebrity in the pop culture sense -- not a bubble-headed hotel heiress or a no-neck millionaire jock or a blinged-up, p-diddy hippity-hop pimp from the hood.

Overland Park resident Paul C. Rogers is a bit more unassuming than all of those people. Still, he has contributed more to the good of the world than any of them (and most of us) ever will.

Rogers, a good friend of one of my business associates, is one of the few remaining members of 101st Airborn Division, Easy Company, the famed Band of Brothers documented by the HBO mini series.

Rogers entertained us with stories of the D-Day invasion, including his early morning jump from an airplane into the Nazi-occupied French countryside. On the way down, he lost his jump bag (which contained most of his gear including his rifle and ammunition) and landed in a tree. With only his trench-knife, a few grenades, some water and chocolate rations he managed to evade German troops long enough to catch up with the rest of Easy Company.

All of us at the table were riveted by his stories, even as he told about his interviews for the Band of Brothers production, meeting Tom Hanks and touring France 60 years after the D-Day invasion. We were humbled to be in his presence.

The man is all class. Quite a departure from today's popular so-called celebrities.

As Mr. Rogers left after a long and satisfying dinner, he remarked that "I've dined with movie stars and dignitaries, but I've enjoyed talking to you all more than any of them."

Like I said, all class.

We all know how the war turned out, but it's something special to hear about it from someone who lived through it. So many sacrificed so much for so few.

From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother;

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  1. Cool story. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Oh my god! That is so cool! I would have been in awe all night! I LOVED Band of Brothers, not to mention I come from a military family.

  3. Wow. That's awesome. Glad you had the opportunity to meet him.


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