Supreme Court Justice Tom C. Clark: A Life of Service

By Mimi Clark Gronlund | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 21
The Great Adventure

He exemplified the finer elements that have gone into the making
of America.

U.S. Embassy in Malaysia, 1967

“THE FIRST DAY OF THE NEW LIFE” started with a bang: my parents left for an around-the-world trip the afternoon following my father’s last day on the Supreme Court. The trip was funded by a grant from the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Tom Clark was designated a “United States Specialist” serving on a “goodwill” mission for the country. The purpose of the mission was to exchange information with representatives of other countries and to share ideas about our judicial and legal systems and those of the countries visited. Mother called the trip their “great adventure.” No one anticipated the negative impact it would have on my father’s health.

The voyage began on June 14, 1967, and was to end ninety days later in Rome. The ambitious itinerary included Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Lebanon. Jordan. Jerusalem. Turkey, Greece and finally Rome. The first leg of the journey was to Los Angeles; there they caught a connecting flight to Hawaii, where they spent the first night. They boarded a flight to Tokyo the next morning, but the plane developed engine trouble less than an hour after takeoff and had to return to Honolulu for repairs. They were off again a few hours later, but were five hours late arriving in Tokyo.

Mother recorded a full schedule in her diary—brunches, luncheons, dinners, speeches, and seminars at every spot they visited. They were treated royally, and were impressed and pleased with the efficiency and thoughtfulness of the State Department officials who handled the trip. The Vietnam War was still raging, but there seemed to be more curiosity

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