Berkshire Hathaway
My Berkshire

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By SalvorHardin
October 15, 2001

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To paraphrase Sandman from many posts ago; if you are not happy with emotion then move onto the next post.

First of all, I'm British. Welsh-Irish to be exact, but this is a minor point.

When I meet Americans in the UK, or Europe, you always say which state you are from, and thank God for that. My view of America is of States first with laws that vary from state to state (and no doubt other states consider them to be eccentric) but the underlying overriding principles of decency and individuality are universal. Which underpins America.

British and English are interchangeable terms, except when it comes to sport � but that's another story.

God Bless America.

When the first plane hit the WTC, I was at home. I was eating lunch whilst emailing my boss (sad, I know). My mother (who lived through the blitz) came into the room and said that a plane had hit the WTC.

I thought it was an accident. But I went to the TV room.

Then I saw the second plane.

Then the world changed.

For three or four days, nothing else mattered....

I bought my first Berkshire shares a few years ago with the money that my grandmother left me in her will. The money that was left over paid my exam fees for the toughest Actuarial exam you can take in England.

I passed (thank you Warren; 90% of my exam performance came from reading your letters, the other 10%, I apologize for doing so badly).

Those Berkshire shares will NEVER be sold. I may end up on skid row, I may end up being dragged through the courts, who knows. But those shares will NEVER be sold. They will have to [be] prized from my cold dead hands. That certificate is one of my most prized possessions.

I came to Omaha last April � my first time in the USA. I was impressed; mightily impressed. In Europe, there is a tendency to look down on the USA, to sneer at your culture, your economic achievements, to criticize your performance in the last two World Wars (I despair when I hear people saying this � without your help I would be typing this in German, if at all).

In my four days in Omaha, I saw so much economic dynamism I was shocked. We are not used to this.

The hotel I stayed in had a notice on the room doors, saying that we should not expect the room staff to speak English. Sure enough, they spoke Spanish.

I can get by in French, German and Finnish (that comes from a drunken bet with someone who used to play for the Chicago NHL team (the "Blackhawks"?) and also Slovene (girlfriend is Slovenian), but we had no problems communicating - I am fluent in football (sorry, soccer) and I support one of the top teams in Spain (Barcelona, if anyone is interested) and sport breaks down so many barriers.

The room staff and cleaning ladies had more "get up and go" than 90% of the people I know in Britain. They had made the decision to come to the USA and they were going for the American dream. They, and I, knew that they would probably not attain everything that they wanted but they would give their Children a better life.

Which is what most parents want for their Children. So that they can learn from their mistakes and improve upon the current model.

I met many wonderful people, from all walks of life. I even had a friendly discussion (after far too many beers) with an ex-Marine as to who would win the war between Britain and the US (god forbid). We agreed to disagree (I still reckon our SAS would beat Delta Force on points, after 15 rounds!!).

He used to be a good football player (your soccer) but age was getting to him and he'd damaged his knees in the service. I suggested to him that he tried our football! Who knows; he may in be your soccer World Cup team in 2006 (unlikely, but at least he had the spirit to try; which is infinitely more important than anything else).

I used to be in the British Army. I have friends who are "on operations" in Central Asia (I won't say any more � careless talk costs lives).

God Bless America.

If I were 20 years younger I would reenlist. I'm not sure for our army or your army? The US doesn't have an equivalent of the French Foreign Legion � maybe you should consider it!

I would also say this. I did not vote for our Prime Minister, Tony Blair. Just like many of you did not vote for your President. However, my Prime Minister gets my support � he has been a giant on the world stage in the past month and whilst I would not vote for him � I would step in harms' way to protect him.

I hope you support your President. He has a tougher job that most people realize and it will take far longer than you expect...

God Bless America


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