Today is the anniversary of Chris Battle’s birth. He is a victorious 45 years old. It was Chris who had the idea of starting Security Debrief. He personally recruited most of its contributors – asking, cajoling, berating and sometimes begging us to contribute. Whatever success Security Debrief has had in advancing the debate on homeland security issues is directly due to Chris’ vision, persistence, integrity and persuasion.
Chris is the best writer of any of those of us who put thoughts out for public comment on Security Debrief. He has a gift to see life from a very different perspective. He uses adjectives and adverbs in the same way the Iron Chef uses fresh herbs and vegetables – to add texture, flavor and excitement to the offering. He is simply a great storyteller, coming out of a culture of Southern writers who know a thing or two about engaging readers through compelling stories about life’s ironies.
Some of us were lucky enough to celebrate Chris’ birthday when he first came to Washington, DC, 16 years ago. It was a low key event. Chris never did like being the center of attention. He was a news reporter then and was far more comfortable when talking and writing about others. I know that he is still that way.
As people know who have followed his saga during the past several difficult years, Chris has been battling kidney cancer. His bravery, and that of his wonderful wife, Dena, and their two daughters, Kate and Josie, have become the basis of many laughs and tears as we read their stories in the Kidney Cancer Chronicles. If he were to write something today, he would likely not even mention that it was his birthday, except to talk about how his beautiful girls would get excited to help him celebrate in a memorable way. And what memories he and they have created and so graciously shared with us.
Despite the thousands of friends who wish he were back at his home in Alexandria to celebrate today, Chris is in Georgia surrounded by his family who will be celebrating with him for all of us.
There is no better day than today to celebrate the life of our friend, Chris Battle. Happy Birthday, Chris. Enjoy the cake and ice cream and presents and love that will come your way today…and every day thereafter.