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The legacy of Dan McMichael

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Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

“I know this might be more information than you're looking for,” Dan McMichael often would say well into his telephone calls about security matters, “but it really is important to this discussion and has far-ranging implications.”

In the end, once he had fully briefed you, it wasn't and it was.

Mr. McMichael, 87, of Shadyside, the consummate gentleman, died early Monday. He was an internationally recognized expert and the go-to person for the unvarnished facts about ballistic missile defense. He helped guide a number of important American institutions — the National Strategy Information Center and the Center for Strategic & International Studies, among them — as a member of their boards of directors. He also was past chairman of the executive committee of the Prague Security Studies Institute.

Additionally, McMichael, a true patriot, served as chairman of President Ronald Reagan's Strategic Minerals Task Force in 1980. His efforts live on as the debate over the control and sale of rare-earth minerals returns to the forefront.

McMichael also was longtime secretary of the Sarah Scaife and Carthage foundations. He even found time to write a novel, reissued just last year.

Above all, McMichael was a scholar. Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote that the “office of the scholar is to cheer, to raise, and to guide men by showing them facts against appearances.” And that is Dan McMichael's legacy.


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