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There is little we can say about the late Ed Koch that hasn’t already been said. He was one of the greatest mayors this city ever knew, a quintessential New Yorker who lifted the spirits of this city when it needed it most.
Koch was a World War II veteran who fought in the Battle of the Bulge, a congressman and three-term mayor who helped pull the city out of fiscal turmoil in the 1970s.
He was a man who never backed down even when the position he was taking was unpopular. At the same time, he enjoyed the attention. We remember Koch marching in city parades, pumping his arms in the air and asking, “How’m I doin’?”
The New Yorkers who lined the parade route told him he was doing great. And he loved it.
Long after he left elected office, Koch remained active in city affairs, endorsing candidates, writing columns and speaking out on important issues.
On occasion we wrote about Koch in this space. He let us know when he agreed and when he didn’t.
We opposed his endorsement of Republican Bob Turner for Congress. Koch, who described himself as a “liberal with sanity,” would later admit he was “sending a message” to President Barack Obama in response to a position the president had taken on Israel.
We also opposed the renaming of the 59th Street Bridge the “Queensboro-Ed Koch Bridge.” He loved the renaming.
In a June editorial headlined “Search for the Next Koch,” we wrote, “What the city needs is another Ed Koch. For all his flaws, Koch was a man of the people.”
We called Koch a war hero. He replied: “I was not a hero. I served to the best of my ability and was honorably discharged as a sergeant after serving for three years. I received two combat battle stars and the Combat Infantry Badge, as did every member of the 104th Division for serving in combat in the campaigns of Northern France and the Rhineland.
“Combat stars are not awarded for individual bravery. Everyone in the division who served in these campaigns received the combat battle stars.”
We take nothing back.
Koch never stopped being a hero. Till his dying day he fought for the causes he believed in with honesty and passion. He was a man of the people who loved this city as much as anyone ever has.
©2013 Community Newspaper Group
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