Daniel Schorr: A Very Personal Remembrance
The recent demise of Daniel Schorr on July 23, 2010, at the ripe old age of 93 brought to my mind a warm and pleasant remembrance I have of him that took place many years ago. After a long and distinguished career at CBS and elsewhere, Dan Schorr joined NPR where he served as a highly respected commentator for some 25 years. Since my wife, Jane Christo, had been General Manager of NPR radio station WBUR in Boston for 25 years and frequently invited NPR luminaries (Scott Simon, Nina Totenberg, Robert Siegel and others) to WBUR events in Boston, I had opportunities to meet frequently with Dan Schorr during his many appearances at WBUR events. But, there's one incident with Dan Schorr that I'll never forget, and here's what it was:
I'll always remember the greeting that Dan Schorr once gave me after he had learned - during an earlier visit to Boston - that I was an Albanian and, indeed, even born in Albania. So, once at a later 'BUR event, Dan Schorr greeted me with "Hello Van, our noble Illyrian!" Naturally, I was taken aback (but otherwise greatly flattered) that Dan found out - or otherwise already knew - that the Albanians are the direct descendants of the ancient Illyrians!
Seizing this unique opportunity to talk about Albanians with Dan, I then informed him that during the 220s BC, Queen Teuta of the Illyrians was a thorn in the side of the Romans because her pirate ships always preyed on richly laden Roman merchant vessels trolling the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. So much so, that the Romans finally had their fill, and, in 227 BC, crossed the Adriatic Sea and invaded and conquered Illyria, removed Teuta from her throne, and made the kingdom of Illyria the Thema, or province, of Illyricum as part of the Roman Empire. I was touched that Dan listened intently to my brief historical narrative, so, when I met Dan again at another WBUR function in Boston, he, with a big grin on his face, asked me how the rebellious Illyrians could possibly have survived under restrictive Roman rule!