Academic journal article Texas International Law Journal

Lone Star: The Historic Role of the WTO

Academic journal article Texas International Law Journal

Lone Star: The Historic Role of the WTO

Article excerpt

The last time I was in Austin, Texas, I was carried off on a stretcher. I was not in Austin then to speak to a symposium on international law. I was in Austin then to march in a parade. It was the spring of 1961. I was eleven years old. And I was a Cub Scout. I was a Cub Scout in Pack 510 in Irving, Texas, near Dallas, and 1 traveled by train from Dallas to Austin one Saturday to march with thousands of other Texas scouts in a statewide parade.

I had not been feeling well on the day before the trip, and my mother had suggested that I might want to stay at home. But I did not seem to be all that sick; I was excited at the prospect of my first train ride, and I was determined to go to Austin and march proudly with my "pack" in the parade.

The bluebonnets were in bloom that spring, and the train ride through the Texas countryside was everything I had hoped it would be. So was the parade in Austin. Flags were flying. Bands were playing. Scouts were marching. The parade route was lined by cheering crowds. To my eleven-year-old eyes, the path of that statewide parade seemed long, and it seemed glorious.

All in all, it was a memorable day. And the day became all the more memorable for me when, midway through the parade, I suddenly felt a sharp pain, like a knife, in my right side. I tried to keep marching. I was determined to keep marching. I managed to keep marching for a few more steps. Then I collapsed in a heap in the street.

The next thing I knew, I was being carried off on a stretcher, and driven back, by ambulance, to the train. I stayed on that stretcher, and I struggled with the pain in my side, all the while the train traveled all the way back to Dallas. Despite all my boyish determination, I did not finish the parade.

Back home, I soon learned that the knife in my side was an attack of what a doctor in a Dallas hospital called "appendicitis." The doctor removed my appendix. I remained in the hospital-with my mother constantly at my bedside-for nearly two weeks. And I missed hearing how the parade turned out at the next "den meeting" of Cub Scout Pack 510.

I was devastated at the time by the fact that 1 had not finished the parade. I vowed to return to Austin the next year to march again. But, that summer, soon after my twelfth birthday, my father was transferred from Dallas to a small but fast-growing city in Florida called Orlando. So I grew up to become, not a Texan, but a Floridian. I never returned to Austin to finish that parade.

Thus it was that I was later sent from the State of Florida, and not from the State of Texas, to serve in the Congress of the United States of America. Even so, when I arrived for my first congressional term in Washington, and when some of my new congressional colleagues from Texas discovered that I had spent part of my boyhood in their beloved state, they declared me, unofficially, an "honorary" member of the Texas delegation. I worked closely with many members of the Texas delegation of both parties on trade, space, defense, and other issues all the while I remained in the Congress.

So, perhaps it is proper, even now, for me still to see myself as an "honorary" Texan. And perhaps it is especially appropriate for me to recall and to reassert my boyhood affiliation with Texas and my abiding affection for Texas today in returning, at long last, to the city in Texas where I was, all those many years ago, unable to finish that statewide parade.

For, in recent years, in the eight eventful years in my life since I chose to leave the Congress, I have been busy marching in another parade. This parade is, for me, a parade that has passed, most often, not through Austin, Texas, but through Geneva, Switzerland. This parade is not statewide; it is worldwide. It is a parade that is watched by almost all of the world. Yet, this parade reminds me, all the same, of that statewide parade on that springtime Saturday long ago in Austin. For this parade is also long. …

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