Lynn Poole's Belated 55th Anniversary Narrative

Lynn Poole H'60, inspired by his reading of our 55th Anniversary Report, submitted the following: (Note: Any of you desiring to submit a personal narrative or add to your personal narrative already submitted, please don't hesitate. Send what you have to Henry Marcy, Thank you!)


Classmates--my belated personal narrative for our 55th Anniversary Report:

Vital statistics remain about the same as in my 50th Anniversary report, except that I now have four grandchildren. Information on military service: I took NROTC at Harvard, saw active duty aboard the U.S.S. Jason (AR-8) from June 1960 to September 1962, when I was released to enter Harvard Law School. I remained in the Naval Reserve until 1971, with the rank of Lieutenant. While I was “green as grass” when entering active duty, I learned quickly that, green or not, the Navy held me responsible for the actions of those personnel under me and for the various duties (First Division officer, Damage Control Assistant and ship’s Legal Officer) to which I was assigned. The legal duty was one which I sought, even though I was not yet a lawyer. Law school was in the future. The immediate substitute was a course in the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice) to which the Navy sent me. Near the end of my active duty, I even was asked to prosecute a case on behalf of the Navy involving a reported theft by a sailor (I lost!).

I finally received my legal degree from Harvard in 1965. The Law School was not much fun, especially the first year which to me resembled far too closely the “Paper Chase” movie. But I got through it, and I believe that my Harvard degree was instrumental in securing a federal appellate court clerkship to launch my legal career. The vast majority of that career was in employment and contract labor law, including litigation (appellate, District Court, administrative, and arbitration). The Postal Service, from which I retired in 2011, had numerous challenging and complex legal issues and, because of its size, some of the monetary stakes involved were extremely substantial. I enjoyed what I did, although I never would have thought in starting out that I would wind up as a litigator.

I read my classmates’ comments in the published 55th Report pretty carefully. Many of those praised long and successful marriages, as do I. It is also true that Harvard today is not the Harvard we attended. How could it be otherwise? For example, I have a souvenir from the 50th Reunion of the Class of 1914. Imagine how their world turned upside down after graduation! And Harvard continues to lead in so many areas (including upgrading its basketball team, which often struggled in our day!). However, I agree with at least one of my classmates that Harvard performed poorly in its treatment of ROTC. It had a responsibility not to stigmatize the military, whatever the prevailing winds were. Harvard should have been better than that.

I also respectfully disagree with some of my classmates in their apparent continued hope for the current administration in Washington. I did say in my written remarks on the 50th Reunion that I thought the country was headed in the wrong direction. Nothing since I wrote those words has changed my mind. I did not expect much from this administration, but as of this writing (mid-2015), I fear it resembles more that of the eight years of James Buchanan and Franklin Pierce. That means that the country needs another Abraham Lincoln—from either party. Whether we get one or not should be clear when our 60th anniversary rolls around.

- Lynn Poole