Rita Cosby, noted TV host and correspondent, has anchored primetime shows on Fox News Channel and MSNBC and is currently a special correspondent for CBS's "Inside Edition." The three-time Emmy winner, who was named a "Fun and Fearless Female" by Cosmopolitan Magazine has gotten to know hundreds of people from all over the world with on-the-spot interviews. But it took over half her life to get to know her own father.
Her father, emotionally distant throughout her childhood, abandoned his family when she was a teen. He was a mystery to her until her mother's death. While going through her mother's belongings she discovered a battered suitcase. There she found a worn Polish Resistance armband; rusted tags bearing a prisoner number and the words Stalag IVB; and a POW tag bearing the name Ryszard Kossobudzki, the man she knew as Richard Cosby.
"When I pasted it all together, I just wept," Cosby said.
Before that, all she knew of her father's past was that he had left Poland after World War II. Whenever she asked him questions, he refused to answer. She tracked him down and when they reunited she used her journalistic skills to conduct the most significant interview of her life.
"Here I am a journalist," she said, "and I remember I was nervous making the call."
Her father's story started when he was 13 and saw his town destroyed by bombs. Before the Warsaw uprising, he lied about his age to join the Resistance and was later captured and sent to a German POW camp. After months in the camp, and weighing only 90 pounds, he and a few others escaped through the sewers and were rescued by American forces.
Cosby's story is one of survival, healing and forgiveness and is one she loves to share through her book, "Quiet Hero, Secrets from My Father's Past." She now serves as the International Committee Against Mental Illness's national spokesperson, focusing for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and reaching out to wounded veterans and their families everywhere.
Cosby will be the guest of honor at the Chopin Society of Atlanta's annual fundraiser hosted by John Lemley of WABE Radio on Nov. 12 at the Country Club of the South in Johns Creek.
Dorota Lato, president and founder of CSA promises an evening rich with history, heroism and inspiration. Holding degrees in music, education and foreign languages, Lato, who emigrated from Poland in 1991, has been praised on two continents for her skills in organizing cultural events. And to make the evening complete, CSA will provide a little piano music performed by Lato's students, Eliza Folkert and Emilia Folkert of Holy Redeemer Catholic School in Johns Creek, Jackson Zurca and Anthony Wang of Alpharetta High School and Stephanie Chew of Johns Creek High School. For more information visit www.chopinatlanta.org.
Susan Larson is a writer who lives in Lilburn. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.