September 12, 2011 / By John Liporace
When I woke up on September 11 this year, unlike 10 years ago, I knew it would be a memorable day. I never realized it would be one I will never forget.
The day was already lining up to be special. I was heading down to our nation’s capital with our client partner, Diageo, to watch the Washington Redskins host the New York Giants. That would have been enough to make the day memorable. But, Diageo, a great supporter of our Armed Forces, had asked that I invite a few friends who have served in the military so they could honor them as part of a 9/11 tribute.
My career at Taylor has allowed me to work with some of the greatest athletes in the world, legends like Ali and Pele. There is something even more special about having met and become friendly with those who have served our country especially members of our Special Forces. Several of them were able to join us in the suite that day at Fed-Ex Field. So, that would surely be enough to complete the day. As it turned out, the day was far from complete.
During halftime, one of our clients asked me where my friends were. Not having any idea what kind of tribute had been planned or when it would be, I told them it was fine to leave the suite and walk around the stadium. Upon hearing this, our client said ‘Can you get them back here? Tell them to hurry. We have a four-star general waiting to meet them.’
My friends, and everyone in the suite, were about to be honored by the presence of Peter Pace, the 16th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the first United States Marine to hold our country’s highest military position. Since I’ve never met a U.S President, this was the highest-ranking U.S. official I’ve had the honor of meeting. And, with all apologies to Pele and the Champ, one of THE highlights of my career.