Thursday, October 12, 2006

John Reed - A great man with many great passions

Tomorrow (October 13) a friend and former colleague of mine - John Reed - will be honored in a memorial service at Christ Church in downtown Nashville. Just yesterday, John lost his hard fought battle with pancreatic cancer.
My personal respect for John aside, it only seems fitting that a small glimpse of John's great legacy be shared here in this blog. For those of you who didn't know John or his work, he was hands down the strongest advocate I ever met of the First Amendment and open government, having spent much of his professional career and virtually all of his political capital for years fighting for stronger open records laws and against any attempt to silence free speech.
I saw John a few weeks ago at a lunch reunion in his honor of some of his former Ingram Group colleagues. While seated next to him, I shared with him a little about what my company was doing on the web front. While John always made known his adversion to most things technical, I could tell that John - a true champion of free speech - understood and appreciated the awesome power of voice and opinion that the Internet has to offer.
I once read that a great man is a man of great passions. John was a great man because he had many great passions in life - some were personal...his wife Ann, his daughters Lindsey and Jessica; fishing a quiet stream or deep waters; a Nantucket sunrise and sunset and all the time in between...and others more public...upholding and protecting the First Amendment; challenging anyone, regardless of who they were or what power or influence they wielded, who would dare undermine the principles of free speech; and trying his best to encourage others to join in his cause.
I will miss John, but I know his legacy is so great that it will live on in the hearts and minds of everyone he touched during his 59 years on this earth.


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