A man to be remembered
I remember as a young boy visiting the gravesite of Mr. Joe De Laurentis with my father, Francis, and his father, William. I recall a sense of confusion swaddling me. At the time of our visit, war was an unclear notion to me. Regardless, I paid my respects. I saluted the brave Mr. De Laurentis. My father later explained to me that Joe was an old friend of his father — a friend whom he had lost years ago.
William Clarence Beck was born on May 14, 1922 in Philadelphia. He had three older sisters and one brother named Frank who died in infancy. His father passed away before William enrolled at Roman Catholic High School in 1936. Affectionately nicknamed “The Kid,” William ran track in his sophomore and junior years. He graduated in 1940 and was extremely proud of his alma mater.
After graduation, William worked several menial jobs before enlisting in the Army. He was initially rejected because of a mild heart condition, but was later reconsidered and ultimately accepted in 1942. He served as a gunner, sergeant, and tank commander in the 702nd Battalion under General George S. Patton in Europe. (He was allowed to operate a tank well before he obtained his driver’s license.) William received a Purple Heart after being severely wounded during battle. He remained grateful always for having had the opportunity to serve his country.
After the War, William returned home and wedded Catherine McGrath. The couple was married for 59 years. They had eight children: William (called Kevin), Eileen, Marguerite, Michael, Patricia, Francis, Thomas, and Timothy. William worked as a typesetter for various magazines and newspapers for 40 years.
William Beck passed away on the morning of Aug. 12, 2006 at Nazareth Hospital. He has left behind a tremendous legacy — a legacy of kindness, of generosity, of courage, of grace, of wit. He was a man of the Church who put God, his family, and his friends before all else. William Beck is the perfect embodiment of strength, determination, and hope.
I can still remember the reverence with which my grandfather conducted himself while at the gravesite of his dear old friend. Despite my confusion, I can still recall the rays of pride that exuded from my grandfather — rays that have resonated throughout generations and transcended time.
I am proud to be William Beck’s grandson.
Don’t privatize state stores
This may surprise folks, given my lifelong affiliation with the Republican Party, but I am opposed to the privatization of the state liquor store system. I know of what I speak, having worked as an executive in the wine industry years ago.
The state store system as it currently exists is profitable, if not perfect. The state should reinvest profits into modernizing existing stores, expanding into regions that have experienced population growth, extending business hours, and expanding product selection. By giving shoppers greater access to stores and enhancing their shopping experiences, we can better stave off the “border bleed” into New Jersey and Delaware and keep that lost revenue in-state.
I also am concerned that privatization will result in the loss of many family-sustaining union jobs. Healthy unions are critical to a healthy overall economy. Finally, as someone who greatly respects the work of MADD, SADD and other groups that advocate against drinking and driving, I am concerned that private liquor sellers will be lax in the enforcement of the state’s legal drinking age and sell their products to minors. That’s simply unacceptable. Modernize, don’t privatize.
Republican Nominee, Philadelphia City Council-At-Large
Social Security anniversary
Aug. 14 marked the 80th anniversary of the Social Security Act and for those of us 65 and older, Social Security continues to be a critical source of income.
It is estimated that Social Security keeps approximately 15 million Americans above the poverty line according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Many Americans also rely on retirement benefits and pensions they pre-funded in their working years.
However, many of their former employers are now backing out of their fiduciary responsibilities or reducing the benefits retirees already paid for and were guaranteed. With experts predicting that Social Security may be depleted by 2033, retirees are concerned.
One way Congress can protect older Americans is by passing HR 1856, the Employee Benefits Protection Act, to make it more difficult for companies to cancel guaranteed benefits. I ask that retirees stand together by joining ProtectSeniors.Org, a nonprofit group leading the charge to protect America’s retiree benefits.