General Alexander Haig Jnr. died last weekend in Baltimore after a short illness. His career had spanned more than six decades. As an actor and player he was in some of the most momentous events of our times: President Nixon's opening of China, the Tumult of Watergate, the global crisis under Jimmy Carter, the rollback of communism under Regan and even the emergence of the internet as a force in American life.
He may have composed his own epitaph when he wrote of a simple blueprint for living life: 'Practice rather than preach. Make of your life an affirmation, defined by your ideals, not the negation of others. Dare to the level of our capability then go beyond to a higher level.'
Alexander Haig also could add what he learned on MacArthur's staff: Always be ready for the call, always be ready to answer it for your country. On both counts most Americans would agree, he was.