|Scott with Donna De Varona (center) and John Pinto (right) at the Gate
With all eyes on Rio this weekend for the World Cup Final, a faceoff between Germany and Argentina, I’m reminded of a recent trip to Berlin.
It’s hard to believe that 25 years have passed since the historic fall of the wall along Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, marking the end of the Cold War and the beginning of democratic governments replacing communist rule. While standing only yards from the Gate, I reflected on the enormous contributions our military have made in defending this region of the world.
Millions in our military served our country during the Cold War. Since we were not officially “at war” as a nation, however, there are some who don’t consider these servicemembers “real” Veterans, including some of the Veterans themselves. Nothing could be further from the truth. Their efforts were vital in securing the peace, especially during those uncertain years after World War II and Korea, and before Vietnam. They wore the uniform of the United States, and served honorably. They are Veterans, just as those who served during wartime and they are entitled to the same benefits, including membership in Veterans Advantage. We owe them a great debt of gratitude.
I also had the honor of meeting our American Ambassador to Germany, John Emerson, his lovely spouse, Kimberly and two of his three daughters. He hosted a wonderful dinner at the residence, and – keeping in the spirit of sport — we were joined by German athletic great, Katarina Witt, a two-time Olympic Figure Skating champ. Other Guests of Honor included Veterans Advantage Advisory Board Member Donna De Varona, herself a two-time Olympic champion, and her spouse John Pinto, a U.S. Army National Guard Veteran. The next day, Ambassador Emerson gave us a tour of the American Embassy, a remarkable building next to the Brandenburg Gate, completed in 2008.
|Ambassador Emerson, second from left, and other guests including, Katarina Witt (center, with Scott Higgins, right)
Finally, if you are a fan of soccer – or Futbol, as the rest of the world calls it – tune in Sunday at 3pm Eastern for the World Cup Final between Germany and Argentina. Germany’s historic 7-1 thrashing of Brazil was amazing to watch, and no doubt will be the talk of this upcoming match.