What does one do with a key to a city? I am not certain, but my profound and humble thanks go to my home city of Long Branch, New Jersey and to Molly McCluskey of my beloved National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Molly surprised me by asking the mayor to proclaim a day in my honor and grant me a key to the city. These were presented during a meeting of the Broadcast Committee of the Press Club on December 8, 2016. "Connie Lawn Day" was declared in Long Branch on November 22. Hope I don't have to march in any parades or ride on any floats, as I did during my days in Long Branch High School !
Long Branch is now a wonderful city, which has had its ups and downs. But, as I have written in my book, it taught me a toughness, resilience, and spirituality as I meditated near the ocean, rivers, or lakes. Every day, as I walk into the White House or the other venues in Washington, D.C. , I say "pretty good for a punk kid from Long Branch"! I am enclosing the text of the proclamation from Mayor Adam Schneider. Thank you Molly and Mr. Mayor! Go Long Branch!
City of Long Branch, New Jersey
WHEREAS, Constance Lawn was born in Long Branch, New Jersey, in 1944, to attorney Howard Lawn and Pearl Bergman Lawn; and
WHEREAS, she was raised with her brother, Dr. Richard Lawn and her sister, the late Margo Lawn Neumann on Lenox Avenue; and
WHEREAS, Connie was groundbreaker and force of nature from a young age, and was the first and only girl to play for the Long Branch Little League in 1956, which she wrote about in a Letter to the Editor in the New York Times in 1971 and she was especially proud to have hit a home run pitched by the town bully while the bases were loaded; and
WHEREAS, Connie's intelligence and academic prowess were evident throughout her years in the Long Branch Public School system, from which she graduated in 1962, participating in Student Council and scholastic events; and
WHEREAS, Connie was involved in a Model Congress, the Long Branch Chapter of Hadassah, and many other civic and community projects through her synagogue, Temple Beth Miriam; and
WHEREAS, Connie graduated from Simmons College in Boston with a degree in government in 1966; and
WHEREAS, Connie Lawn began her career in journalism in 1968, becoming an internationally-renowned journalist and a senior member of the White House Press Corps over nearly fifty years, covering presidents from Lyndon Johnson to Barack Obama; and
WHEREAS, she was present for many notable moments in history, including the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, and Watergate; and
WHEREAS, she was one of the last reporters to interview Robert Kennedy moments before his assassination in Los Angeles in 1968; and
WHEREAS, Connie established her own news bureau, Audio Video News, reporting news from fourteen different countries; and
WHEREAS, Connie's proudest moment was meeting Nelson Mandela and learning that he listened to and was inspired by her radio news reports in jail; and
WHEREAS, Connie Lawn reported on New Zealand and was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the New Zealand National Press Club in 2006, and was named an Honorary Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2012 by Queen Elizabeth; and
WHEREAS, Connie wrote her memoir of her career and life titled, "You Wake Me Each Morning", which is what people around the world have told her, and which is in its fourth edition, "You Wake Me Each Morning: The Final Chapter" updated to include her on-going battle with Parkinson's Disease; and
WHEREAS, Connie Lawn lives in Lake Barcroft, Virginia with her husband, Dr. Charles Sneiderman, and has two sons, David Rappaport and Daniel Rappaport who live nearby; and
WHEREAS, Connie Lawn has never forgotten her Long Branch roots, writing in 2012 of her sadness for the area's losses from Superstorm Sandy, concluding that, "Long Branch gave me a toughness I have needed to survive in the challenging worlds of reporting, politics, and business. Every day, as I go to work at the White House or some other locale (which I have covered since l968), I say to myself, 'Pretty good for a punk kid from Long Branch!'"; and
WHEREAS, the City of Long Branch is proud of the accomplishments of local woman Connie Lawn and wishes to recognize her role as a world-class journalist.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT PROCLAIMED BY THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL OF LONG BRANCH THAT
NOVEMBER 22, 2016 SHALL BE KNOWN AS "CONNIE LAWN DAY"
Signed this twenty-second day of November, Two Thousand Sixteen.
Adam Schneider, Mayor