"When responsibility is pressed heavily on anyone to make a judgment, it seems to me useful to have as close an understanding of the view of each side as possible." -John F. Kennedy
That quote, by President Kennedy, is boldly displayed around the top of the walls inside the courtroom of the newly named W. Craig Broadwater Federal Building and United States Courthouse in Martinsburg.
On Friday, inside that courtroom - which was personally designed by Broadwater - federal and state officials, former co-workers, friends, and family of the judge gathered to formally dedicate the facility in honor of the late U.S. District Court judge, who, after a decade on the federal bench in Martinsburg, died of cancer in 2006.
Standing under the courtroom portrait of her son, W. Craig Broadwater, and directly in front of daughter-in-law Chong Broadwater, Reta Broadwater speaks to those attending the dedication of the W. Craig Broadwater Federal Building and United States Courthouse in Martinsburg on Friday. (Journal photo by Chris Jackson)
U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., who had appointed Broadwater to the West Virginia Circuit Court and authored the legislation dedicating the federal courthouse in Broadwater's honor, pointed out the quote to the packed courtroom during his remarks at the ceremony. The quote, Rockefeller said, speaks as much about Broadwater as it does President Kennedy.
Rockefeller said Broadwater represented the best of West Virginia and the best of America. It was Broadwater's enduring qualities of compassion, fairness, and toughness that made him an outstanding judge.
"We're celebrating the dream of a man born modestly and a life lived heroically," Rockefeller said, noting Broadwater's childhood in Paden City and his service to his country as both a judge and a soldier. "Craig Broadwater was the American Dream. He accomplished more in his 56 years than most people dare to consider."
The senator laughed as he told stories of the attention to detail Broadwater, who was a general in the West Virginia Army National Guard, showed in all aspects of his life and especially the renovation of the federal courthouse in Martinsburg, even to the point of carrying a tape measure, picking out tile colors, and selecting lighting fixtures.
It was Broadwater's vision and effort, Rockefeller said, that transformed the former post office into a showplace of the American judicial system. Broadwater's great pleasure in life, Rockefeller said, was his family. The senator thanked Broadwater's widow, Chong, for allowing the courthouse to be named in his honor.
Broadwater's widow, his children-daughters Taeja and Chandra, and son Shane-and his mother Reta attended the dedication. Speaking during the ceremony, Reta Broadwater said her son was always proud of his Paden City roots and his family, noting that the judge kept his father's World War II uniform on display at the courthouse and carried his father's duffel bag on all trips.
Following the dedication, Reta Broadwater was presented the American flag used during the dedication by the Honor Guard of the 167th Airlift Wing, West Virginia Air National Guard.
U.S. District Judge John Bailey, who presided over the dedication, and former state Adjutant General Allen Tackett also paid tribute to Broadwater.
Bailey talked of Broadwater's fairness and intelligence and of his love of family and friends.
Tackett told of Broadwater's service in the armed forces, his work in special forces and counterinsurgency, and service in Iraq, where his legal knowledge ensured the proper handling of terrorists.
Others attending the ceremony included: U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, who sponsored the U.S. House of Representatives legislation dedicating the federal courthouse in Broadwater's honor; Keith McIntosh, representing U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin; Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin; U.S. District Judge Frederick P. Stamp Jr., U.S. District Judge Irene Keeley; numerous other U.S. District Court judges and officials; Broadwater's former staff members; and a group of Broadwater's former law clerks.