We first met in DC the winter of 03-04. I think he showed up in late November or Dec. 03.
Peter was a double amputee at Walter Reed and I had friends there, the Schieders. Nick and Tabatha.
Alma, Peter and I met at the Mayflower Hotel as guests of Sen. Kennedy when Kennedy gave a famous and historical speech first calling Iraq a quagmire and into question the assertions linking al Qaeda to Saddam. The packed room was hushed for much of the speech. Ground breaking did not do it justice; more like earth shattering. Afterward we talked for over an hour, maybe two until the hotel kicked us out of the room, Peter, Alma, Sen. Kennedy, Vicki and I about life's curve balls and making a difference when others around you die, and little things like how to put on a backpack with no arms, of regrets for those lost, and challenges we faced personally and as a country. No self piety, just pain and challenges we all face in time.
A few weeks or months later Peter and I had dinner together with Larry Gill from Alabama who was recovering from a grenade injury. Peter was in pain and Larry said it was Peter's first trip to a restaurant out of Walter Reed. There we were Larry with his bum leg and crutches, Peter with his rigged contraption for holding a fork,more or less,and me directing laser beams from my eyes at well heeled clientele of the steak house who stared at us and then their meals. I was in DC dealing with the budget which to my horror excluded funds for body armor and vehicular armor which we later got added as a supplemental no thanks to President Bush and that rat bastard Rumsfeld.
Peter liked working with his hands and while at Walter Reed or commuting back to Mass. where he had a girlfriend, he decided to pick up old loves, drawing and Jen, but this time with a prosthetic arm and hand. Actually two arms but the other arm's prosthetic never took hold for him without discomfort and so he sticks with just one. To the surprise of us all, including Peter, I suspect, he turned out to be exceptional.
A few years later, he got to throw out the opening pitch to start a Red Sox game. He practiced at home then went to Fenway Park with a bag full of balls, pliers and screw drivers to tighten things down in fear that when he threw the opening pitch his arm might fly off with the ball to the catcher. But fear is not reality. It turned out great to the relief of all and to the pride of his son and family. And me, to have the privilege of calling him a friend.
Some might call Peter a hero, but he would be uncomfortable with that term applied to himself. No Peter as a regular man dealing with great challenges who inspires greatness by example in the face of adversity.