RUDY DELEON'S ELOQUENT TRIBUTE TO FORMER CONGRESSMAN NICHOLAS MAVROULES-HON. MARTIN T. MEEHAN (Extensions of Remarks - January 21, 2004)
HON. MARTIN T. MEEHAN
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Wednesday, January 21, 2004
Mr. MEEHAN. Mr. Speaker, I was saddened to learn of the death of former Congressman Nicholas Mavroules, a dedicated public servant, leader, and family man.
At the funeral service for Congressman Mavroules on December 30, 2003, at St. Vasilios Greek Orthodox Church in Peabody, Massachusetts, Mr. deLeon delivered an eloquent tribute to Congressman Mavroules that touched me and all others who were present. He described the lifelong dedication that Congressman Mavroules gave to his beloved family, friends, colleagues, and constituents in Massachusetts, and his devoted service to this country.
Rudy deLeon's touching eulogy to Congressman Mavroules should be of interest to all of us. I ask that it be submitted to the RECORD.
His Eminence, Metropolitan Methodios; Current and former Members of the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation: Congressman Tierney, Congressman Neal, Congressman Meehan, former Congressman Harrington-Then as now, one of the most capable delegations in the Congress.
On behalf of the family of Nicholas Mavroules-his wife of 53 years, Mary-his daughters Debbie, Gail and Brenda and their families-and the other family, friends, colleagues and constituents-I would like to thank you for remembering and honoring a remarkable man. A man of family; a man of community; and, a man of public service.
Nick began his political career in the late 1950's, and I once asked-did you ever meet John F. Kennedy.
He responded, "yes, Senator John F. Kennedy."
His daughter-very young daughter Gail-was with him. Her response, "Dad, that man should run for Mayor of Peabody."
In 1978, Nick Mavroules would be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, serving the 6th Congressional District of Massachusetts for 14 years.
But it was in the 1980's, serving on the Armed Services Committee, where Nick would have his greatest impact.
The decade began with the inauguration of Ronald Reagan as the 40th President of the United States. It ended when the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, followed by the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991--ending communist rule in Russia.
In between was one incredible debate-and, of course-Nick Mavroules was right in the center. Along the way there were discussions of human rights in Central America, nuclear disarmament, Pentagon accountability, and the morale and welfare of U.S. troops.
In the course of his service, he would join and lead the debate-both in the Nation's Capital and on the North Shore-about the direction and course of our nation. The debate would take Nick to many places:
1981: Visit with U.S. forces in Germany.
1982: Northern Ireland.
1983: Two trips to Beirut, Lebanon. The first to spend July 4th with the troops; the second to lead an Armed Services Committee investigative team after 283 U.S. Marines were killed in a terrorist bombing during a peacekeeping mission at the Beirut International Airport. In the Committee's final report of December 1983, Nick would write, "A war of terrorism has begun and is likely to continue for the foreseeable future."
1985: A session with U.S. negotiators in Geneva-center of talks with the Soviet Union on nuclear weapons. He would meet with President Reagan in the Oval Office after this trip.
1986: San Salvador, El Salvador. A meeting with the Jesuit's at the University of Central America-priests would later be assassinated in their rectory.
1987: Baghdad, Iraq; Kuwait City; Taif, Saudi Arabia: An inspection delegation to review the security of U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf during the Iran-Iraq war. Most notable was a vigorous session in Baghdad with the Foreign Minister of Iraq, Tariq Aziz, on Iraq's use of chemical weapons in its war with Iran.
1988: As an emissary of the U.S. State Department, Nick engaged in a private dialogue with Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou, providing a framework that produced the current U.S.-Greece agreement on military bases.
1989: Appointment to the House Select Committee on Intelligence, performing oversight of the CIA and other elements of the intelligence community. Nick's input: to require that intelligence be accessible to the U.S. forces deployed and at risk.
During this time, he was also engaged in the significant legislative work on national security that included:
The 1986 Defense Reorganization-the Goldwater-Nichols Act-that fundamentally restructured military command and control-so that troops serving in high-threat combat and peacekeeping missions-would have a responsive and dynamic military chain of command.
Implementation of the Packard Commission recommendations to reform Pentagon acquisition practices.
Legislation that limited the deployment of nuclear ballistic missiles, and ensuring that missile defense technology be treaty compliant.
Funding for the Navy's F-18 fighter, powered by GE engines from Lynn. Twenty years later the F-18 remains as the backbone of Naval Aviation;
And, the Small Disadvantaged Business Act that allowed more American citizens to compete in government contracting.
Throughout his service in Congress, Nick would earn the respect and trust of his colleagues. From Massachusetts: Senators Ted Kennedy, Paul Tsongas and John Kerry, Speaker Tip O'Neill, Joe Moakley, Ed Markey and Jim Shannon, Barney Frank and Joe Kennedy. And other Members of Congress, including Sam Nunn, Barry Goldwater, John Glenn, Les Aspin, Sam Stratton, Bill Nichols and Beverly Byron. His colleagues in Congress would conclude this about Nick Mavroules: He was always a gentleman. He was always well prepared. And, he always kept his word.
But, no matter the challenge in Congress, the highlight of each week would be Nick's return home to Mary and the girls. From his daughters and grandchildren came these comments:
Grandson Michael: He told me stories of himself in my place to lift my spirit; He never said, "No, Forget it, don't bother" or anything to that degree when I told him about my goals in my life I wish to go by; Any time I ever spent with him was always a good time no matter what the situation or event was; You were always there for me no matter what the situation was. The worst thing in my life was to see you go. I love you with all my heart and I always will.
Grandson Matthew: Taking me on my daily paper route. Calling me to make sure that I was ready to be picked up. You would say, "Can you believe I went from a Congressman to a paper boy. I went from being chauffeured to chauffeuring. Telling me never to forget our roots or where you came from.
Son-in-law Wayne: You weren't just a husband, dad or grandfather you were a best friend. You really had to feel very special to be Nick's friend. To Kristen and Nicholas, you just weren't a Papou but more likely considered a dad to them. Stories of baseball and basketball when you played but as he told his stories, he told the grandchildren not to do what he did. When he watched the Red Sox and Patriots blow a game was so comical. If they pulled it out and won he would say "there's not a better team. Aren't they great!"
Grandson Jon: "No bird soars too high, if it soars with its own wings"-This could mean so many different things to many different people but it only means one thing when it comes to my mind. Everything that my grandfather taught and showed me in my life comes down to one thing. You will be most successful in life if you do things on your own and with some guidance of people who are close to you. Words cannot express how much love I will continue to have for my grandfather and how proud I am to say that my grandfather was Nicholas Mavroules.
Daughter Gail: Calling the boys over to your house when your clicker didn't work, remote controls, setting up your phone, TV, voice mail, teaching you all your buttons in your new car, and how proud you were of them because they had the knowledge of technology. How you would call us everyday from D.C. to check on us and how you would know from the tone of our voices if we were fine or not. You knew us like books. Warning the Capital Security and House Members when your grandchildren came to visit. How they would run through the halls going into other members, offices until they found you. Discussing at dinner and everyone taking turns including you and Ma. What was the best and worst part of everyone's day. How you loved that. I will forever miss your kindness, your smile, the warmth and softness of your hands, your guidance, loyalty, your love and affection, support but most of all being our champion and tower of strength. You taught us values to live by. In our lives you were bigger than life, you made us so proud and we will always live in your extraordinary legacy. You're our mentor and now our guardian angel. I love and thank you with all of my heart which you took a piece of with you and hope it lives within you as your soul will with me.
Daughter Brenda: I will always treasure these special times we shared. There wasn't anything that we didn't discuss. You always said the right things. You were my dad, hero, and friend. God needed an angel in heaven, and he took you, but he also took a special part of me. I wish everyone had the opportunity to be blessed with two beautiful parents like I was. I will miss you buddy and will love you always.
Daughter Debbie: You were my dad and my tower of strength. When I was weak you were my strength. You were my sports buddy every week during a Pats game or a Red Sox game, and if we weren't watching them together I would be on the phone with you at least five times. I started every morning by hearing you answer the phone. "Hello Deb, what are you doing Dad? Having coffee and toast and reading the papers by starting with the sports section first." You were a father to my children who adored you. You fought tooth and nail for us and always said no one will ever abuse you and the kids again. What a price you paid for our freedom. That's what Nick Mavroules was all about. The kindest, most caring, and loving individual who never forgot where he came from. That's my dad, our dad. Even from a sick hospital bed he always said take care of your mother and take care of the kids and each other and always stay together as one. Thank you for your endless love and family values.
Son in Law Phil: When I first met your daughter you did not trust me. Who was this "Irish guy taking out my daughter." Our first date, Brenda had to be home by ten o'clock PM until you trusted me with your little girl. Once I was "cleared" you welcomed me with open arms.
On my first trip to Washington I was in awe of how many of the police officers, wait staff and regular people knew Nick and he knew them. He always treated them with the same respect as he did the Head of State. Nick you were a "class act."
Nick, I remember the birth of David. Once again you were sharing your life for others. I know when you called from the Navy ship you were so proud. David and you developed a very special relationship. David idolized you and relished the opportunity to spend time with "Pap." Alexis, what can I say. She is the only one who could convince the former Chairman of the Armed Services' Intelligence Committee to be a student who needed to complete his "dot to dot" assignment. Both David and Alexis loved their Papou. You were their hero and both of them will truly miss you.
Nick, I thank you for the opportunity to marry your daughter. I knew from the start that I could never be the number one man in Brenda's life. That spot was reserved for you. I can only try to live up to your standards. I will try my best to take care of your daughter and grandchildren.
Granddaughter Alexis: Papou was Alexis's favorite student. He was her "dot to dot" champ. Alexis told Papou when he came home from the hospital she would allow him to be the principal. Alexis and Papou had a special code, on every hour Alexis had to give Papou a kiss. Papou these kisses will never stop. When you feel tiny lips on your cheek, it's me still loving you. You will always live on in my heart Papou. I love you.
Grandson David: You helped me and you guided me through good and bad. I remember when I had social studies homework and it was about the government. I would call Papou and ask him and he would help me. We used to hang out together, talk about his past, talk about the economy, and why things happen. I loved spending time together and you don't know how much I loved it. You were my best buddy and my pal. I will miss you and I will cherish you forever and ever. I love you Papou.
Nicholas Mavroules left us on Christmas morning. We will remember him. And, we will miss him. But, we can all find consolation in an angel's Christmas morning blessing found in the Gospel of Luke:
"Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
With God's blessing, we say peace to our friend Nick Mavroules.