Saying Goodbye to Ted Sampley: The Activist’s Activist

Ted Sampley

Over the years I had always heard stories about Ted Sampley.  In each of them he seemed larger than life.  I remember being a bit nervous the first time I met him at a POW/MIA event wondering if what I had to say would resonate with someone as tuned in to the Issue as Ted was.  What I found was what I can only refer to as a gentle giant.  Ted’s eyes said more to me than anything that would come out of his mouth that day.  I saw compassion, tenderness and most importantly, as I told him our story, I saw the wheels in his head turning.  Ted was a wonderful speaker but he was also an amazing listener.  He asked probing questions and made thought-provoking suggestions.

Ted, for all extensive purposes, gave his life to this Issue; for the families and for the spirit of each of those who are still unaccounted for.  His passion and selfless acts, as daring and creative as they were, were all part of a deeper sense of dedication and loyalty to those less fortunate; those who never made it out of Vietnam alive. 

The most incredible part of Ted Sampley is that he was able to maintain this passion, this furvor for decades.   His love for his fellow warrior and for the nation that he dedicated 10 years of his life to was linked to every project that he became a part of, be it restoring or rejuvenating the vibrancy of his hometown or standing with a bullhorn on The Mall in DC, Ted was a believer.

Since his death, one of his detractors collectively with the Washington Post here here and here have unsuccessfully attempted to take parting shots at Ted.  The WaPo has been “selective” in the comments that they have allowed to appear coupled with these articles.  The Pow Warrior has submitted a lengthy response that has, interestingly enough, not yet been accepted.   If you would like to have a copy, please email me.

I will leave you all and Ted, with the closing paragraph of my commentary which I am sure Ted would find quite fitting and may well give him cause to smile …

This hit piece and that of Ms. Keating’s do far more to illuminate your own personal characters than that of Ted Sampley.  Ted believed in a cause, sacrificed himself and dedicated his life to that cause.  Few people leave this world with the ability to have this said about them; even fewer in that select group are reporters.  Therefore, in the end, Ted still wins.