National Geographic will air its documentary Inside the US Secret Service this Sunday evening, February 20th and Monday evening, February 21st (Check your local listings for the times in your area). It will give the viewer an inside look at the Secret Service operations and show clips from interviews taken with some of its agents.
I’ve always found these shows interesting but this week, I’m definitely tuning in because my brother was interviewed for the program.
Years ago, my brother was accepted into the United States Secret Service. I remember it had taken him approximately seven years to get in. Secret Service agents did background checks of our whole family and two men visited my parents’ home to interview them about my baby brother.
My brother’s landlord and neighbors told him that Secret Service agents had visited his apartment complex to ask questions about him. I remember Jimmy telling me the news over the phone. Then, I couldn’t help myself:
“Oh yeah, they called me and asked me questions too.”
“They did?” Jim sounded anxious, a little unnerved. “So…what did you tell them?”
“I told them that apart from you lighting candles every night in the corner of your living room shrine, the one that you built in honor of Lee Harvey Oswald…Oh…and I mentioned the posters of Gennady Zyaganov and Boris Yeltsin in your bedroom…Other than that, you were as red-white-and-blue as the American flag.”
I burst into laughter and then Jim could tell I was having one of those Big Sis “Gotcha” moments. I’ve teased him ever since by nicknaming him “Golden Boy.” Yep, I’ve always been a little jealous of Jim for getting a job that has won him the family title, “Mom and Dad’s #1 Pride and Joy.”
Over the years, he has traveled all over the world, sometimes on Air Force One. He’s protected Clinton, the Pope, the Bushes, and many others (the list is too long to mention). During the 2005 Inaugural Parade, he drove the presidential limo that followed the President.
“Did you see me, Ma?” he had asked our mother during a phone conversation.
Always a joker, Jim knew he was impossible to see behind the tinted windows.
On a regular basis he had protected Vice President Cheney, during Cheney’s time in office. In fact, on 9-11, Jim was one of the agents who brought Cheney to the White House bunker. None of us knew where he was until after the fact and my mom was filled with worry.
I also have pictures of Cheney with Jim. Every year the VP had a Christmas gathering for all his agents and there was always a photo opportunity. Each December, Jim would send me a photo of himself, his wife and beautiful kids taken with the Cheneys, all smiling and standing beside a tall, beautiful Christmas tree.
One of my favorite photos was taken when my oldest niece was only a toddler. Each time, when the photographer was ready to snap the picture, my niece would put her little finger in her nose and try to pick it. After the photographer made several unsuccessful attempts, Jim had to firmly hold her little hand down onto his suit lapel (he was holding her in his arms). Jim looks stressed in the shot but Cheney and his wife are laughing. What a family memory!
After 9-11, I asked Jim what he thought about the event and what was happening in our country. All he would say was, “You are much better off not knowing.”
Jim’s a master when it comes to keeping secrets. He doesn’t share much, unless it’s a harmless or funny story about some celebrity who tried to get by him at a White House dinner. One of my favorite stories involves Whoopi Goldberg (gotta love Whoopi!).
“If they (the celebrities) saw any of us walking down the street, they wouldn’t notice us. But when we’re being the Secret Service agents, it’s another story. We become celebrities to some of them! Pretty funny…”
Today, my little brother is a Senior Agent and trains the new agents.
I’m looking forward to watching him and other agents on the National Geographic channel and hope you will tune in to the program too because it should be an interesting telecast.
Again, It will air on the Discovery Channel-National Geographic, Sunday, February 20th and Monday, February 21st. (Check your local listings for the times.)
So, I guess my baby bro has one-upped me once again. Mom has been calling all the relatives and all her friends telling them to tune in.
I’m proud of you too, “Golden Boy!”