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All you need is love Love is all you need

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Published on: Thursday, October 24, 2013

By Brian J. Karem

The Beatles are credited with the headline lyric written by John Lennon and it has been lambasted and parodied during the last several decades, but the sentiment certainly lives up to scrutiny.

For those who say otherwise, there are certainly plenty of examples to make your point.

It’s hard, for example, to show love to those who terrorize you, exploit you and demean you. Our own government aside, there are plenty of those who do so under the name of religion, corporate mandates and political skullduggery.

Still, the sentiment does stand up to scrutiny. Or more importantly, as a friend of mine once said, “If love isn’t all you need, it is certainly the key to getting what we all need.”

This friend is Alan Hemberger.

Alan said a lot of things over the last four decades – many of it of note. For those in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area who never heard his name, Alan is a former network reporter and television anchor from San Antonio and Houston.

A rabid Boston Red Sox fan, Alan and I over the years have had great conversations about the Red Sox teams of the 70s. I was a fan of those teams because the Louisville Colonels – the AAA team in my hometown was the farm club for the Red Sox and I got to see all of the future stars of those infamous Red Sox teams for cheap when they were but callow youth playing ball in Louisville.

Sports aside, Alan is also a veteran of the Vietnam War and he often described his experiences in-country as being “hours and hours of pure boredom punctuated by abject terror.”

When man first landed on the moon Alan was humping it through the jungles of Vietnam and remembered looking up at the moon the very night Neil Armstrong took man’s first strides across the lunar surface and thought to himself, “How far we have come and how far we still have to go.”

In the late 80s when local and network television was populated by some of the shallowest and most egotistical people you’d ever care to meet, Alan was kind without being a doormat. He was mindful of his own spot on the planet without being an egotist and he was professional beyond question – and showed respect to everyone – most especially to those who didn’t really deserve to be treated professionally.

His personality on screen was equally warm and he was genuinely and generally liked by about everyone who knew him.

This week Alan, sitting on a chair in his home in the northeast, passed away. He apparently died of a massive heart attack at the age of 65.

Losing friends and family is difficult and as one ages I suppose it is to be expected.

The shame with losing Alan was losing a friend who had the soul of a lion and the heart of a poet.

It is people like that who you really appreciate – people who no matter what the circumstances show themselves to be of exceptional mettle. We appreciate them because we wish we were that way ourselves, I suppose. At least that is my feeling.

Alan had little to do with politics, but could’ve been a masterful politician and it certainly would’ve done the City of Rockville, the state of Maryland and the United States well if someone like Alan were in politics today.

If it is hard for you to follow my reasoning – tough – I’m telling the story here.

Everywhere I look, whether it is in local Rockville politics where the idea of being cordial to political opponents is looked upon as a weakness, all the way up to the U.S. Congress where being cordial and cooperative is not only considered a weakness but a fatal disease, there is this feeling that civility is to be avoided.

It is this inerudite predilection to embrace rudeness and mean-spiritedness for the sake of posturing which is unraveling politics and indeed society at every level.

That, I believe is what Alan meant when he spoke about the lyrics to “All you need is Love.”

Alan is dead, but I surely hope his spirit lives on – a spirit of civility and cooperation sorely lacking everywhere and never needed more.

Goodbye Alan. I will miss my friend and what he stood for.

Reader Comments - 1 Total

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Posted By: dianne On: 10/24/2013

Title: All you need is love....

Well spoken and a wonderful tribute to a treasure trove of a human being, I was fortunate enough to call my friend.


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