Former White House Press Secretary James S. Brady died on Monday. I had the good fortune to meet him twice.
In the late ’80s or early ’90s, Jim and his wife Sarah came to the WAVA studios for an interview about their campaign to prevent handgun violence. On another occasion, I met them on the field at RFK Stadium for a press conference to promote an exhibition baseball game at which Jim would throw out the first pitch.
Brady was one of the men shot during the 1981 assassination attempt on President Reagan. My father was horrified by the shootings but had an added layer of sympathy for Brady. My dad was once assistant press secretary to New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller. My father wondered what would have happened if he had continued down that career path instead of switching to public relations.
Two years after Reagan, Brady and the others were shot, my father suffered a cerebral hemorrhage while at work and was rushed to the nearest emergency room. He was taken to The George Washington University Hospital, which was the same place that treated Brady and Reagan. Several of the articles about the aftermath of the shooting include a description of the hospital’s entrance and waiting room, which I can still picture from my own experience visiting there during the days before my father’s death.