To the editor: In the early morning hours of Jan. 9, 2023, the town of Bristol, the State of Rhode Island and the nation lost one of its finest citizens and patriots. Mike Byrnes succumbed to his …
To the editor:
In the early morning hours of Jan. 9, 2023, the town of Bristol, the State of Rhode Island and the nation lost one of its finest citizens and patriots. Mike Byrnes succumbed to his protracted battle with cancer.
Mike was a good, close friend of mine and many, many others throughout the world. Prior to his passing, I had the honor, along with several other local close friends, to visit with Mike and his family at their home for what turned out to be a last call.
I prefaced a toast we raised to Mike with a story I thought was most apropos to the occasion and the man.
On the occasion of my father dropping me off as I reported into Officer Candidate School in Newport, R.I. in October 1964, he gave me some very sound fatherly advice, as he was often inclined to do, which I took to heart and tried to follow throughout my adult life during and after my 28-year naval career.
He told me that in the working adult world I was about to enter I would find there are right guys and wrong guys. It would be my job and responsibility to recognize the difference and align myself with the right guys and keep my distance from the wrong guys.
Well, along my life’s journey, I have had occasion to meet men of both persuasions – right and wrong. But I can honestly and proudly say that when I first met and came to know Mike Byrnes it became clear to me that Brigadier General Mike Byrnes epitomized the character and stature of the right guy my father had in mind those many years ago.
Mike greatly exceeded average in every aspect of his character and life’s purpose – exceptional husband, father, brother, soldier, corporate executive, civic leadership, extensive civic involvement, scholarship, academia, diplomacy, honest soft spoken patriotism, role modeling, example setting and quiet dedicated service to God, country and family.
For anyone who did not know Michael Byrnes well or not at all, I urge you to read his obituary. I can promise you that it is a most compelling read. Truly, Mike was a man for all seasons. I miss him dearly already, as will Bristol. You can see his obituary here:
Pete Hewett, CAPT/JAGC/USN (ret.)
11 Wendy Drive