In retirement, former U.S. Ambassador Michael B. Smith spends his Mondays – “1 to 5 in the afternoon, my tour of duty” – prowling Preble Hall, the U.S. Naval Academy Museum in Annapolis, Md. There, he offers visitors his perspective on the branch of service whose history is anchored in the Massachusetts town where his grandfather, Raymond Osgood Brackett, made a name for himself as a World War I veteran, business leader, community builder, coach and member of The American Legion’s founding generation.
Smith cherishes the scrapbook of photos that has been handed down to him from his grandfather. In it, Foch, MacNider, Brackett and others are seen traveling the country by rail, through Pittsburgh, Chicago, St. Paul, Minn., and Spokane, Wash. – stopping along the way to greet Indian chiefs, loggers in Idaho and to simply walk the tracks. The tour passed through Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, the rim of the Grand Canyon and New Orleans before the French leader returned home.