Back in 1999, we bought a $250,000 press and the Knoxville News Sentinel did a story on me and my late husband Ken Burns. The story was about how we started the business in the garage and the progress that we had made in building the business and about our working together so successfully. At that time Ken and I went out to lunch, most days as that was our time to catch up on what was going on in the business and to just be together. One day we were at one of our lunch spots and Richard Bean comes up and ask if we were the couple in the Knoxville News Sentinel’s article. We told him that we were and he introduced himself. We knew his name because Richard is in charge of the Richard L. Bean Juvenile Detention Center. We were both amazed that he remembered the article and recognized us. It seems that Richard went to a lot of the spots that we ate lunch, so we would see him often. One of his favorites is Wright’s Cafeteria. I still see him at Wright’s Cafeteria, when I occasionally go out to eat.
Richard sends me emails from time to time and most of them are funny, but the one he sent me recently was very inspiring. It was about the World War II cartoonist Bill Mauldin. Sgt. Bill Mauldin was a soldier who was in the trenches with the rest of the guys in World War II. He drew what he saw and most of it was not very pretty. He never held back even when General George S. Patton informed Mauldin he wanted the pointed cartoons celebrating the fighting men and making fun of the high-ranking officers to stop and stop NOW! However, five-star General, Dwight D. Eisenhower, SCAFE, Supreme Commander of the allied forces in Europe had the last work. “Mauldin draws what Mauldin wants.” Mauldin won and Patton lost. At 23, Mauldin won the Pulitzer Prize and was on the cover of Time magazine. He won a second Pulitzer Prize later and when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, he drew a picture of the statue at the Lincoln Memorial, slumped in grief, its head cradled in its hands. According to all accounts he never lost that humble personality and considered himself just one of the enlisted men.
Thank you Richard for this inspiring article.