"The fireworks begin today. Each diploma is a lighted match. Each one of you is a fuse." - NYC Mayor Ed Koch
Edward I. Koch was born in the Bronx on December 12, 1924. At the time of his death in 2013 at age 88, he had made such an impression, the New York Times named him “The Master Showman of City Hall.” He was also just an incredible human being. At the age of 13 he saved his sister from drowning. "He was drafted into the United States Army in 1943, where he served as an infantryman with the 104th Infantry Division, landing in Cherbourg, France, in September 1944. He earned a European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with two campaign stars, a World War II Victory Medal, and the Combat Infantryman Badge for service in the European Theater of Operations. After V-E Day, because he could speak German, Koch was sent to Bavaria to help remove Nazi public officials from their jobs and find non-Nazis to take their place." (Wikipedia)
He represented his city in the United States House of Representatives from 1969 to 1977, resigning to run for mayor of his beloved city. He knew New York City needed a strong and vocal leader. During his three terms as mayor of the Big Apple, he steered the city in the late ‘70s and '80s through a dire financial crunch, racial tensions, and corruption scandals. He slashed the city payroll by 7,000 jobs and brought the city back from the brink of bankruptcy. He improved the infrastructure and revitalized crumbling neighborhoods. During his campaign for a second term, both the Democrat and the Republican parties endorsed him, and he won with 75 percent of the vote.
After his tenure as mayor, he was a partner in a law firm and a popular, opinionated political radio commentator. With interests ranging from the movies and fine dining to providing decent housing for New Yorkers and a better life for Israelis, he spoke out bluntly on many topics and problems. He was famous for his one-liners and was an accomplished, effective speaker.
His interest in public speaking and his skill was evident at an early age: he was president of his school’s debating society.
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