Last Wednesday, Heritage cut the ribbon for the newest addition to its D.C. campus, the E.W. Richardson building. The building will provide state-of-the-art housing for the nearly 200 interns that take part in Heritage’s highly competitive internship program every year, and will also provide short-term housing for visiting fellows and researchers.
During the speeches given by President Kay Coles James, Texas senator Ted Cruz, E.W. Richardson fellow James Jay Carafano, and intern graduate Noelani Bonefacio, one common thread appeared: deep respect and gratitude for the man whose legacy made the building possible.
E.W. “Rich” Richardson was a powerful example of American courage, spirit, and ingenuity. Born in 1921, he taught himself how to fly at a young age and loved planes all his life. He was just 20 years old when World War II broke out and he joined the Army Air Corps. After working as a flight instructor, he became a lead bomber pilot on important and dangerous missions overseas.
On February 22, 1945, Rich’s plane was shot down over Vienna, and he bravely manned the controls until his nine other crew members had managed to escape to safety. He was then captured by the Germans, interrogated at Nuremberg, and held as a prisoner of war at Moosberg prison in Germany until a week before the war ended. When he was liberated and returned to America, he knew two things: that he would keep flying, and that he would never take a moment for granted.
After the war, he married and moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he raised his family and built up one of the most successful Ford dealerships in the country. He taught his children to also work hard, and to help others. He was a great patriot, and a firm believer in giving back to the community and the people who had helped him succeed, and even after his passing in 2003, his legacy has continued both to inspire and to help many, many peoples’ lives.
Watch this powerful video telling Rich’s story:
And this video with all the highlights from the Grand Opening:
Heritage is incredibly grateful to Rich’s family and friends, who made the E.W. Richardson building possible, and we’re excited for his story to inspire a new generation of young conservative leaders.
Why do you believe in America? What advice do you have for young conservatives?