Tree dedication ceremony in memory of
Dr. Patrick Brendan BYRNE
5th September, 1998
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As perhaps the first foreign colleague, among those attending this unveiling ceremony, who first professionally met Brendan Byrne back in 1978 and introduced him into the field of stellar activity, I was given the honour and privilege to deliver a short speech in his memory.
Sometimes it looks like living a virtual and unrealistic life. About one year ago we still had the good fortune of talking to him, corresponding by phone and e-mail, even planning new research projects, in summary we were enjoying the various aspects of Brendan's lively companionship as:
- a wonderful and devoted husband,
- a beloved and lovely father,
- a brother or relative with a strong sense of family ties,
- and, for the rest of us, a talented colleague and, first of all, a very good friend.
The tragic destiny, that suddenly and quite unexpectedly took his young life, came as a shock wave leaving behind a deep and difficult to replenish vacuum. A shock that has affected us in several and different ways. Each of us can recount several touching memories. But they belong to our private sphere and I believe that they should be there confined.
Celebrations and dedications may easily and dangerously degenerate into rhetoric. I am sure Brendan would strongly disagree and hate it very much, as I do myself. He would straight tell us  "Let's get to the point". Therefore, let me simply recall how much he valued FRIENDSHIP, as a life style, he did pursue, however, with a fine sense of humour sometime misunderstood as perhaps too critical. For most of us he became an INSTANT FRIEND on the very first occasion we approached him. Not just occasional friends, but sincere friends for life. Let us thank Brendan for having been with us, though too shortly, and generously offering his valuable friendship. We trust that a time will come when we shall have the opportunity of verifying TOGETHER that we never really lost each other and our mutual love, in its different and various forms, had survived this tragic event that life has demanded us to experience.
Today's ceremony unveiling a plate in his memory and dedicating an IRISH OAK, though coming from England (hopefully a sign of changing times?), assumes a highly symbolic significance and relevance: this ROBUST TREE will be growing up to remind all of us, as well as new generations to come, of the many already flourishing seeds of science that Brendan has generously spread in the past twenty years over the Astronomy field, at Armagh and elsewhere all over the world, during the course of his unreasonably short and intense life.
God bless you Brendan, and thanks again for donating so much of you to your Family, to Astrophysics and to us. Good bye, unforgettable friend.
(Marcello Rodonò, Catania University and Astrophysical Observatory, Catania, Italy)Return to the Index
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Last Revised: 14th September 1998
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