Eleven years ago today my dad and I went fishing. He was retired and I was pastoring a small church in the Milwaukee area. One of the upsides in pastoring that church is that I could see my aging parents once a week. Dad like to shore fish and sometimes he would come to my house which was close to Lake Michigan and we’d head to the lake to wet a line. We never caught anything but that was not the point. It was just good to be with dad and “shoot the baloney” as he would put it. After fishing we’d go to lunch and continue the baloney shooting. There is nothing remarkable about any of this except for the date. It was 9\11\2001.
We had finished fishing, again having caught nothing, and got in the car. I turned the radio on and neither of us could believe our ears-a large plane had crashed into one of the twin towers in New York City. Was it an accident, was it a pilot suicide, what the hec just happened were the questions that swirled about in our minds.
We arrived at my house and turned on the television. We witnessed the second aircraft crashing into the second tower. The sight of the second plane crashing into the second tower answered our questions. It was not an accident but it was a pilot suicide although not of the type we originally guessed. We surmised, quite rightly, that the US had been attacked by Islamic terrorists.
At this point my dad left to go home to be with my mother. They both had lived through World War 2 and my dad had served at the war’s end. My dad made comments about Pearl Harbor and wanted to be with mom when he shared the news. He also shared concern about his grandson (my son) who was in his early twenties at the time and what it all meant should the US go to war.
After then President Bush said that we’d go after the terrorists wherever they might be found as well as the countries that hid them my dad nodded his approval even though it might have meant his grandson could be part of that going after. It was clear cut in dad’s mind and he was not the kind of guy who was inclined to Republican views. Never-the-less, in his mind Bush was absolutely right and never mind that dad didn’t particularly like him.
I think dad’s mindset was that of what is now called the “greatest generation.” The generation that lived through the great depression and World War 2 and knew that sometimes a country had to go war even while it most certainly preferred peace. To dad and most of his generation it was simply a matter of right versus wrong, wrong to let Americans die at the hands of terrorists and do nothing.
Mom passed away in 2004 and dad in 2006 so neither witnessed the election of President Obama. I doubt they would have voted for him because they were pro-life Catholics and while they leaned Democrat they could not longer tolerate the massacre of a different type of innocent-the unborn.
Had my father lived through 9/11/12 I wonder what his reaction would have been to Benghazi and the murder of four Americans by a different set of Islamic terrorists.
The cover-up, the false narrative of what happened and why, the Secretary of State saying, “what difference does it make” and the fact the administration let our people die would have enraged dad.
But, we are a different country now. The greatest generation is quickly passing away and along with it a collective ability to judge some things simply as right and wrong and act accordingly. I suspect that dad should he still be alive would more concerned with his grandson and his growing family and what kind of country they are inheriting.