Tag Archives: Matt Veasey

Three decades as a Philly Cop come to a close

Recruit training, Philadelphia Police Academy, summer 1990

This past Friday, January 19, was my last official day on the payroll of the Philadelphia Police Department. After nearly three decades, I hung up my badge and gun, riding off into the sunset of retirement.

I come from a Philly Cop family. My brother, Mike, remains on the job as a Sergeant with the Central Detective Division. For a few years way back in the early 1990’s we were partners working a police wagon.

Our father, Matthew Veasey Jr (I’m the third), had been a Philly Cop himself for three decades from 1960 through 1989. He passed away back in August knowing that my retirement was coming up. If you combine his and my own service, the calendar year of 2019 will be the first in a half-century without a Matthew Veasey serving in uniform.

We also have a pair of cousins on the job. John Bernard is a Detective and Bob Veasey is a police officer. So even though I’m now out, the family influence remains within the Philly law enforcement ranks.

Trying to write about all of the experiences that I had, all of the people who made a difference, in one piece would be an exercise in futility. There were so many, I could write a book. Maybe some day I will do just that. I certainly understand how so many cops have written books and scripts in the past. There are that many amazing, wild, and touching stories.

But I will take a few paragraphs to glance back at my career as both a general reminder, and as a sample of where a career in the police profession can take you.

I started out by taking the written exam in December 1989. I had just turned 28 years old, and had been working in the banking profession for the previous decade since my graduation from high school.

This wasn’t my first time taking the police test. I took it previously way back in 1980 as an 18-year old. At that time, I passed the written test as well as all of the subsequent exams and checks.

Unfortunately, for one of the few times in history, not only was the PPD not hiring, they were actually laying off officers. I remained on a hiring list for two years while that layoff and city hiring slowdown continued. My list eventually expired, and by that point I was settled in to my job with First Pennsylvania Bank.

By the time that 1989 testing opportunity came around, I had moved over to Fidelity Bank. Though I was making better money in a more responsible position, I still wasn’t seeing much of an interesting future for myself in the banking profession.

In those days, the city actually gave you a booklet to study for the written test. I studied hard, and it paid off. When the results came out, I had finished high. By the end of January 1990, I was attending the orientation session at the old Academy facility on State Road.

Over the next few months there were numerous tests: psychological, psychiatric, lie detector. There was a background check in which neighbors and family members were contacted about my conduct and character.

I passed everything with flying colors, and entered the Philadelphia Police Academy as a member of Class 289 on April 23, 1990. The next five months were like being back in high school. Classroom work, homework, and studying. There was regular physical training that got me into the best shape of my life.

In mid-September of 1990 our class graduated. I was assigned to the 6th District, the same place as my brother, who had graduated the previous year. The 6th served an extremely diverse area in those days, stretching from Broad Street down to the Delaware River, and from South Street up to Poplar Street.

The Veasey Boys, 6th District wagon crew in the early 1990’s

While there are districts with far worse violent crime situations, few could rival the 6th District for the variety of assignments and citizen interactions. You went from a job in the drug-infested Richard Allen Homes projects on one call to the wealthy inhabitants of Society Hill for the next.

There was a thriving gay community, the burgeoning club scene along Delaware Avenue, and the boardwalk atmosphere of South Street. The entire downtown area was a hodgepodge of residents, visitors, workers, and transients. It was a great place to learn how to interact with people from all walks of life, and from all socio-economic backgrounds.

We had great cops in my squad, many of whom stayed together for much of the more than six years that I was in the district. One of those cops was my brother, Mike. He and I would spend much of the early 1990’s as partners working a patrol wagon together.

My brother passed the Sergeant test and moved on, and for a couple of years I worked mostly on a solo patrol car, though I still occasionally worked a wagon with other partners.

In late 1995, I took the exam for Detective, finishing at 103 out of hundreds on the list. In January of 1996 the department promoted 89 people to the rank, going through 96 names on our list to get them. This left me just seven slots away, but now I had to wait. That wait lasted most of the year.

That promotion to Detective finally came in November 1996 when I received the gold shield and began my investigative career with the East Detective Division. In more than four years at EDD it became obvious to me that cops who worked the “Badlands” of the 25th District saw more violent crime in a year than I had in six years at the 6th District.

It was so consistently violent in East Division that we had a phenomenon known as the “Nine O’clock Shooting” – there was a shooting nearly every night on the 4×12 shift somewhere around that time.

Headed out for first day as a Detective in November 1996

The Detectives, supervisors, and cops who I met during my time at East were some of the best that the profession has to offer. A number of the Detectives from our division would eventually move on to assignments at Homicide, basically the investigative elite.

Just after Christmas in 1999, I transferred to the Northeast Detective Division. This was mostly just a move to get a closer commute from my home, as my family had moved up to the Somerton section of Far Northeast Philly earlier that year.

Any thoughts that it might be quieter at NEDD than it had been at EDD went out the window on my very first night. Working a 4×12 shift, I got more jobs that night than I had in a typical night at East. And not only that, but I got a shooting that night. Yep, the old “Nine O’clock Shooting” followed me.

Just how bad the crime situation had gotten in the 15th District of Northeast Philly was a bit of an eye-opener. It would turn out that Northeast Division, while not as consistently violent as East, was every bit as busy from a policing and investigative perspective.

What I gradually found during the two and a half years that I worked at NEDD was that I was missing the streets. This was something that was a bit of a surprise to me. When I made Detective, became a member of the Gold Badge Club, and got to wear business clothes every day, I thought that I would never put on a uniform again.

But the cop bug began to bite again, and I took the test for Sergeant in the spring of 2002. I thought that I did well, but you never really know with those things until the results come out.

Final annual qualification at the shooting range, September 2017

In early August, my wife and I were preparing to go away on a vacation to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The day before we left, my phone rang. It was my Sergeant at the time, Mark Burgmann, who said just one word: “Ten.

I knew his voice, but was in vacation mode and just wasn’t getting the context. “Ten what?” was my response. “You came out number ten on the Sergeant list.” I thought for sure that he was messing with me. I figured that I must have done well, but that he was bumping me up a bit. Turns out he wasn’t.

What that meant was, as long as the city actually hired off the list, I was getting promoted again. It was just a matter of time. Turns out, it was a lot of time.

There were no promotions off that list into 2003. Finally that spring, some seven months after the test results were announced, I was promoted to the rank of Sergeant.

Following the promotional ceremony at Temple University, all of the promotees went to a downstairs area. There we were to turn in our old badges, and receive our new ones, along with our new assignments.

As I waited in line for my turn to get my new badge and assignment, a friend of mine, Brian McBride, was in line in front of me. Brian was also making Sergeant. When he got close enough to see the list, he turned to me and said “18th.”

In my head I thought “18th?” Honestly, I couldn’t even have told you where the 18th District was at that time. All I knew was that it was somewhere out in West Philly, a section of the city where I had never worked, lived, or traveled.

The 18th District headquarters is located at 55th and Pine Streets. When I tell you that there is no easy or quick way to get there from my home at the far end of the 7th District in Northeast Philly, well, that is an understatement.

Visiting with granddaughter Elysia as an 8th District patrol Sergeant in 1996

During the year that I spent out in the 18th, there were two days where, coming home on daywork do to severe traffic problems, it took me two hours to make the drive – without ever leaving the city of Philadelphia.

The 18th turned out to be a great learning experience, including that I got to know a section of the city that was unfamiliar to me. Approximately one-third of the district was taken up by the University of Pennsylvania, which afforded a number of opportunities to work with and around some great events such as the Penn Relays and Big Five games at the Palestra.

Two of the best medical facilities in the country, the Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) are in the 18th. Working with their E/R staffs was a great experience as well.

But it was just too far to travel every day, and the first opportunity that I got, I put in a transfer looking to move somewhere closer to home again. It took about a year, but in March of 2004 that transfer came through sending me up to the 8th District in Northeast Philly.

The transfer to the 8th was a godsend as far as travel goes, but it came with a qualification. I had to accept a “Last Out” assignment for the first time in my career. While at East Detectives, the department had briefly switched to a schedule that saw us work “around the clock” shifts for about a year. But this would be the first time that I had to work the overnight “graveyard shift” on a daily  basis.

Graduating from St. Joseph’s University in May 2009

For nearly four years, the 8th District was my home. It was very close to my actual family home, about a 10 minute drive. And it turns out that I was able to adapt to working overnight fairly easily. I did switch to a “regular” squad schedule of daywork and 4×12 for a year, but found that I actually preferred overnights, and so switched back.

Then in the fall of 2007, almost on a whim, I put in a transfer request that would change my life. Ever since high school, I had always wanted to be a teacher. That desire had never left me, and that it had never happened became a regret as I moved through my banking and police years.

I had never attended college, not one class, when in the fall of 2003 while at the 18th District at age 41, I finally changed that situation. The PPD had a working arrangement with the Community College of Philadelphia which allowed officers a chance to take classes at the Police Academy in their spare time. I signed up for the program, and finally began to work towards a degree.

Taking classes year-round, which continued as I moved to the 8th District, I finally attained my Associates Degree in Criminal Justice from CCP in May of 2006. I then moved immediately on to Saint Joseph’s University to begin work towards a Bachelor’s Degree, which I would receive in 2009.

The school experience reignited my overall interest in education, and so in the fall of 2007 came that life-altering transfer request to the PPD Training Bureau. The transfer came through, and November 1 of that year began a decade-long run as an educator.

Teaching at Philadelphia Police headquarters in October 2013

I was finally getting to do what I had really always wanted. It was a natural fit, standing in front of a classroom and presenting police professionals the information that would help them do a better job in serving the public while also staying safe.

That was where my journey ended this past Friday. It was a journey that allowed me front row and behind-the-scenes exposure to some of the great events in Philadelphia over these past three decades.

Like most Philly cops, I worked all of the big Philly events, including things like the “Welcome America!” celebration around July 4th, the Greek Picnic, the annual bike race through Manayunk, the Dad Vail Regatta, and multiple “Freedom Medal” ceremonies.
I worked the Mummers Parade at a number of spots over the years, including four that stand out. With my brother in the early 90’s, we were the “beer wagon”, holding and transporting any cases that were confiscated by officers. Needless to say, there were many.

I worked the “Two Street” parade night celebration just once, about five years ago. And in both 2016 and 2017 got to work really fun assignments as a supervisor out on Broad Street, including right at City Hall a year ago.

In recent years there were multi-day details for the visit by Pope Francis in 2015, and the NFL Draft a year ago. While I didn’t have to work the Democratic Convention in the summer of 2016 thanks to a scheduled vacation, another political gathering was a career highlight.

In summer 2000 while I was still at East Detectives, the Republican National Convention came to Philadelphia. I was detailed to work for two weeks at the Dignitary Protection Unit, and was paired with a Philly cop named Billy Stuski, who was also from South Philly.

Billy and I were teamed up with a pair of cops from the District of Columbia Police Department as the security detail for U.S. Senator Don Nickles of Oklahoma for the duration of the convention. Nickles was the Senate Majority Whip, one of the key spokespersons of the GOP at that time.

My Dad, retired Philly PD Captain Matthew Veasey, visits my office at the new Training Bureau in June 2016

For two weeks we went everywhere that the Senator went. Sometimes we did “advance” work, scouting out the locations that he was to visit the day before his actual trip. Most of the time we accompanied him around the city.

This was both during formal convention-related events, usually in the evening, and also during social events, such as various dinners, lunches, concerts, and more. He was an avid golfer, which got me into a handful of prestigious locations such as Merion and Pine Hill, where he shot rounds during his stay.

When reading this, you’ll note that I didn’t “name names” very much, other than my family. There are just too many of them. Suffice it to say that nearly every person who I worked with and got to know thanks to this career was appreciated.

Also, I didn’t tell many specific stories. I’ll save those for future police-related pieces here. Or maybe for some future book or script. There are a million of them.

At my retirement party on Friday night, a nice crowd showed up from all across these last 28 years. I was honored with a plaque and some very nice words that summed up my career. And then I was handed the microphone, always a dangerous proposition when I’ve had a few beers.

I kept it fairly short. But one statement that I made summed it up. Of all things, it was a takeoff of a Priscilla Presley quote from “The Naked Gun” when she made the statement “I like cops!” because I do. Actually, I love cops. And I love teaching. For the last decade, I got to teach cops.

Short of managing the Phillies, I can’t think of a better job for myself. Also, it was the prototypical “square peg in a square hole” – a perfect job for my tastes and my talents.

Thank you to the Philadelphia Police Department for all of the various opportunities of the last three decades. And more importantly, thank you to all of the unforgettable people who wear the badges and carry the guns. The men and women who stand the wall and work hard to keep our city safe around the clock every single day.

For nearly three decades, I was honored to continue a family tradition. I was honored to stand as a member of the Thin Blue Line. After my promotion to Sergeant, I was told by a Detective that “once a member of the Gold Badge Club, you’re always a member.” Well, for the rest of my life, I’ll be happy to remain a member of the Blue Family.

Coming Soon: Website Renovations 2018

Anyone who has visited here over the years has watched my website undergo a number of previous renovations.

Those changes and renovations have ranged from the design of the page, to the topics emphasized, to the actual name of the page itself.

It began with “Philly Cops” all the way back in the late 1990’s. That first site was created as an early place for police officers, especially Philadelphia Police, to get information and news regarding our department and profession.

Within a couple of years, another site called “Domelights” had been developed. ‘The Dome’ dealt with the same topics. I liked it’s format and the dedication of its founders and managers, and so decided to direct my own efforts in another direction.

Sometime around 2004, I decided to direct my efforts at politics. “The Right Way” was a short-lived effort that presented my opinions on various political and social issues from a conservative perspective.

About a decade ago, I decided to check to see if my own name was available as an internet domain. It was, and the “mattveasey.com” site under my own name was born.

Over this past decade the emphasis of the site has changed a few times. At first a continuation of the political and social direction of “The Right Way”, I began to incorporate pieces written on any topic that sparked my interest.

At one point, I tried to turn the site into a purely family site. The intent there was to make it a place where our extended family of kids and cousins, aunts and uncles, could catch up and stay in touch with one another.

Then along came Facebook almost immediately. So many family members joined up and got in touch with one another quickly that it became a perfect place to stay in touch.

Over the last half-dozen years there have been three major changes in direction. The first was to a religious and spiritual emphasis. Next came a change to baseball, specifically my hometown Philadelphia Phillies. Finally over the last year or so, to overall baseball coverage.

It was the fall of 1997 when I purchased our first home personal computer and logged on to the internet through the AOL service. Amazing to think that it was a full two decades ago. I began writing soon after. Most of those early pieces are lost to time.

Thankfully when starting “mattveasey.com”, I was able to recover a number of pieces dating back as far as 2004. Those are now available here. If you flip through the “Archives” in the left sidebar, you can see the evolution of the topics and direction.

Another thing that I hope you can see is the evolution of my own writing. It is an old axiom that “writers write” – it’s in the doing. I enjoy the writing, the self-experession and sharing of ideas.

I’m a writer, whether ever getting paid to do so professionally or not. And so I have to write. I’ve learned a great deal along the way, and believe that both my style and presentation have improved over the years.

What I have learned in making all of these changes in direction and format over the years is that I have a lot of opinions on a wide variety of issues. It’s becoming time to get back to that variety.

To that end, I have undertaken the project of re-designing this website. That project is taking up my extra time right now, and will continue until I am ready for a formal re-launch. It could take weeks, could take a couple of months.

In January of 2018 there will be a major change in my life. On January 20, I am scheduled to retire from the Philadelphia Police Department after nearly 28 years of service.

Along with all of the things that my wife, Debbie, and I want to enjoy together in retirement, my intent is to increase my writing efforts. I also intend to take more time in actually crafting the pieces, making them better in quality. Too often in the past, I rush a piece just to get my ideas out.

The re-design of this website will make my past pieces more accessible. Not only will they be available chronologically through searching via that “Archives” method, but they will also be available topically through a sectional toolbar at the top of the page.

Current toolbar sections being developed include the following, though those could change slightly as the site is developed:

“Commentary” is the Editorial section. Here I comment on a wide variety of topics, such as my opinion on the NFL player protests involving some players ‘taking a knee’ during the playing of the national anthem.

“Faith”, “Politics”, “Sports”, “Terrorism”, “Baseball”, and “Phillies” are fairly self-evident as to what you can find covered under those topics. Within the Faith section you can find the regular ‘Sunday Sermon’ series, which will resume soon. In the Terrorism section you will find the ‘Islamism Series’ features relating to aspects of Islamic terror. That series will also be continued. The Sports section covers everything other than baseball.

“Philadelphia” covers non-sports pieces that specifically deal with issues and personalities involving the city where I was born and raised, still live at this point, and to whose citizens I have given decades of service. Here you can also find items related to my experiences working with the Philadelphia Police Department.

“Reviews” contains book, film, and music reviews that I have done over the years. It also includes a “TV Watch” series of television program reviews. That series will resume in 2018. There will be many more book and film reviews into the future. The reviews will always come with a link to the original featured work.

“History” covers pieces that deal with topics that I feel have a historic relevance, such as Benghazi or Hurricane Katrina. However, a number of series that I have run over the years can be found here. “American of the Year” comes out at the end of December and announces a high-profile American who I believe was most influential during the year. “Real American Heroes” is a bio series on winners of the Congressional Medal of Honor. “Rock and Roll Heaven” profiles musical personalities lost too soon.

Each of these series will be resurrected in 2018, and I may introduce a couple of new ones as well. There are also pieces in the “History” section revealing some of my own personal life story. I’ll continue to share more of that personal history as time goes by in this section.

Important to note in navigating around the site: click on the “labels” below any piece to find others relating to the same topic. For example, check the bottom of this article to get a look at some of those featured series already mentioned.

If you do bother to explore back through pieces from the past, you will notice a couple of things in some of the older pieces. There are some with no formatting, meaning the sentences all run together. There is no paragraph separation and no accompanying cover picture. There are also some references to links that no longer exist.

These issues are mostly found with pieces seven or more years old, and not every piece is affected. This resulted from a technical issue involving the transfer of those pieces from their original web hosting service at AOL to the current Google service. I will be slowly going back as a separate project and cleaning up those old pieces one at a time, over time.

NOTE: the project to clean up format and picture problems in the old articles was completed on November 15, 2017. If you ever find an old article with formatting problems or a missing feature photo, please let me now.

The more recent baseball-themed pieces utilize features that will become regular going forward. These included the incorporation of related videos and links to more information on the topic.

As we move into the future, who knows what developments might occur in web publishing or technology? Those might again spur a change in the presentation and design.

As far as the topical emphasis and direction,  I intend to write on any and every topic that interests me. From the point of the re-launch and forward you will start to once again find news, events, sports, politics, media, faith, family, and more.

Hopefully someone else out there, ideally many folks, are enjoying my writing and are interested in another opinion on these issues. If so, please feel free to let me know. You can do that via the email link available here, on social media, or by leaving comments below individual pieces.

But the fact is that I have always written for myself, for my own pleasure and enjoyment. It’s been a means of self-expression, of getting out my inner voice, and of leaving a legacy.

I will announce on my social media feeds when the actual re-launch occurs. In the mean time, there are more than a thousand pieces available to look back through over the last 13 years. Enjoy!

Where Have You Gone, Matt Veasey?

A new responsibility has taken Matt Veasey to TBOH

For anyone who stops in here and thinks that I may have stopped writing – not so.

On December 1st, 2014, I accepted the role as Editor and lead writer with “Fansided”, an emerging sports and entertainment site.

I have been running their Philadelphia Phillies coverage ever since. That assignment takes up a lot of time, especially when added to my “real” working life, as well as family responsibilities.

So if you want to continue enjoying my writing, and you are a Fightin’ Phils fan, you can find me right here: http://thatballsouttahere.com/author/mattman3rd/

That is my personal link at the site. The main TBOH site is: http://thatballsouttahere.com/

There is also a ton of information available on Twitter: @FS_TBOH, and you can follow on Facebook as well right here: https://www.facebook.com/thatballsouttahere?ref=br_tf

So, I’m still writing. I’ll be keeping this “mattveasey.com” site alive, just in case that new venture disappears, or once in awhile I feel like coming back and commenting on something outside the baseball world.

Thanks for stopping by, and hope you’ll continue following for now at TBOH…..

Comeback of a Blogger

Back in February and March of this year, 2013, I told myself that I was going to get back into writing for this then-neglected blog on a regular basis.

After peaking my activity in 2008 and 2009, when I was posting up a new story on a pace that was almost every other day, I dropped to 79 in 2010, 26 in 2011, and then a barely once a month pace of 16 last year.

So what happened? For the most part, Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media happened. When I did get time to express myself, those were the chosen outlets. It generally took much less work and thought to put together, and there was much fun and enjoyment to be gained. But slowly I have come to the realization that it simply isn’t enough.

What writing a blog allows is a greater depth of expression on issues, when that is what you want to communicate. Every entry doesn’t have to be long or wordy. It doesn’t have to be on a topic of epic importance either. But it does give you a chance to go beyond the Twitter limits of 140 characters, and it allows you to feel more writing ownership than Facebook.

The history of this “mattveasey.com” blog goes all the way back to 2004, and so there is also an investment of my time and talent, and my name, that are intimately involved.

So I’m making a comeback. I will be writing here more. The topics will be as they always have been, things that interest me the most, from family to faith, politics to culture, sports to media, and more.

There will be a comeback for some of the old “feature” editions as well, including the “Rock and Roll Heaven” series, the “Real American Heroes” series, and of course I will continue to honor an “American of the Year” at the end of December.

I hope that if you enjoyed my writing in the past, whether you always agreed or not, that you enjoy once again. I will be sharing links to what, in my opinion, are the best or most interesting or most informative articles at both my Facebook page and Twitter feeds.

Let the comeback begin…..

Television & the presidency as a time machine

A face from my mirror’s past unexpectedly pops up on a TV documentary

I was sitting at home this past Saturday night, just flicking around the dial, when a newly produced special report on the Fox News Channel titled “Television & the Presidency” caught my eye.

Being a bit of a history buff, especially American history, it was right up my alley: a historical perspective on the role that television has played in Presidential politics.

As I settled in to watch, the program moved quickly through Jimmy Carter’s term in the late 1970’s. Those Carter years were fresh in my own experience, since I had turned 15-years-old right after his election.

Carter was basically the President of my high school years, and it wasn’t pretty. The man was supposed to be some kind of genius. At least that was how the press sold him. But he just couldn’t seem to solve any of the big problems that came along, from the gas crisis to unemployment, ballooning interest rates to the emergence of radical Islam.

Every time a problem raised it’s head, Carter talked and talked and got nothing done to solve it. At least that was my perspective as a teenager. But what did I know? And besides, it didn’t matter, I didn’t have a vote…yet.

In the fall of 1979, among the many other changes happening in my life, I turned 18 years of age and finally could register to vote. My family was historically a Democratic Party one, and the views seemed to easily fit the liberal ideals that most appropriately espoused my own philosophy at the time. So, I registered Democrat.

Carter continued to stumble and falter, and I looked to ‘Camelot’ for my own and my newly chosen Party’s salvation. I had been a Kennedy fan ever since learning in my youth that I shared my birthday with the late Senator Bobby Kennedy.

Having done a lot of reading during high school on JFK and Bobby, I was definitely among those convinced at the time that there must have been a conspiracy in Dallas, and that the Warren Commission was a sham.

In my first election, the Pennsylvania primary of May 1980, the presumed heir to the Kennedy crown stepped up to challenge President Carter. And so, I jumped on board the ‘Teddy Kennedy for President’ express.

That spring, Kennedy came to Philadelphia to accept the endorsement of Mayor Bill Green. I had just started working for First Pennsylvania Bank about eight months earlier, and Kennedy’s speech was going to be given right outside my work doors near 15th and Chestnut Streets.

I remember very clearly looking down from our 7th floor windows in the 1500 Chestnut building. You could see the ‘rooftop’ security activity, but no one was telling us to stay away from the windows in those days.

At some point during my lunch hour, I slipped out of work and made my way down to try and get a glimpse of my new political hero. Much to my amazement, I was able to get within just a few feet to the rear of a makeshift stand which had been erected, and from which Senator Kennedy would speak.

I remember it pretty clearly, but I am quite sure that in the haze of the ensuing 28 years, I have probably messed up a few details. But that’s how I recall that day. I also remember that I never actually got a chance to see Kennedy due to the thickness of the crowd, though I was probably no more than 20-30 feet from him.

At the rear of the stage, with security and dignitaries between myself and other onlookers, and with Kennedy speaking at the front, all I could do was stand and listen, which I did.

Oh, and a couple other things that I know. I had longer hair then, actually parted in the middle with the ‘wings’ that were still in style. I was wearing a white dress shirt with a wide collar, had left the top shirt button unbuttoned, had a grey tie loosened. I was wearing the vest from a grey 3-piece suit, without the suit jacket.

How do I know all that detail, you say?

Because as the Fox News television special progressed through to Kennedy’s challenge of Carter, they showed a snippet from that very speech given by Kennedy on that day in Philly.

Very quickly, but lasting maybe four full seconds, there was a closeup of an 18-year-old Matt Veasey standing in the back of the stage, eyes glazed over as he listened to Kennedy speaking.

It was crystal clear, a close-up, and they held the camera on me long enough for me to say “Holy crap!” as I sat in my living room that night, now almost three decades later.

Thankfully, modern day television experts have invented something called DVR, and I quickly rewound the program to watch again. There I was staring back in time at myself almost three decades ago, still a teenager, less than a year out of high school, my eldest daughter just a couple of months old.

It was eerie, partly because it was totally unexpected, partly because the shot was a good one, partly because I haven’t seen that face much in decades.

I don’t know of any video, family or otherwise, that exists of me from those days. I don’t actually even have many photos from that time, at least not in my possession. But there I was, live and in person, at least on tape, from spring of 1980.

I ran upstairs and got my wife Debbie, who didn’t even know that I existed in 1980, and asked her to come downstairs and watch the show for a minute.

I had it cued up to just before my appearance, and gave her the buildup describing what the show was about and where we were in the episode, and then asked her to watch close and see if anything catches her eye.

She watched and let the shot of me go by, and just as I flickered off the screen she looked at me wide-eyed and asked “was that you?” in an incredulous tone.

We watched it together a few more times and shared the amazement with a good laugh as I caught her up on some of the things that were happening in my life at that point.

So if you get a chance to see this “Television & the Presidency” special on Fox News Channel, stay tuned for the episode and section where they cover Jimmy Carter.

As that Fox documentary moves to the Kennedy 1980 primary challenge, they will show the Philly speech, and as Kennedy laments that we want “no more high taxes, no more hostages” or whatever his rant was, you will see a starry-eyed young liberal in the audience.

That young man was me once, a long time ago. It was good to see me again.