My Father, my Friend

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My dad, Robert Hallquist. This picture, taken in the early 60's was taken at his workplace, Bethlehem Steel in Sparrows Point, Baltimore, MD when I was just a kid. He turned in his shipyard duds for a pastor's suit and has been in the ministry for nearly 60 years. Good move.

Today is Father’s Day, the day we think about and honor our fathers. I think about my father often, not requiring any holiday to remind me of what he means to me.  And, he means a great deal. Although I enjoy my relationship with him, our journey hasn’t always been the smoothest. We’ve had a few bumps. I think most people could say the same. Nevertheless, I rather think about the joys we’ve had on our journey together. The ruts, bumps, and detours in the road have merely made us stronger.

As a young boy growing up in Glen Burnie, Maryland, a town just south of Baltimore, I knew my father as a hard-working and passionate man. I also feared him. With that, he presented for me the first recognizable paradox in my life. How could I, on the one hand feel free and comfortable with him, while on the other hand, feel the great sense of fear toward him? Like most children, they would want to feel completely safe and care-free with their parents at all times. I didn’t have that. It wasn’t that my dad was abusive; he just didn’t spare the rod as much as I wish he had. I thought he was too tough on me.

My first recollection of my father’s vocation was that he was a steelworker. I was kind of proud of that and in awe of what he did and where he worked. He was employed by Bethlehem Steel at Sparrows Point in Baltimore. At the time, Bethlehem Steel was the largest producer of steel in the world. (see http://wapedia.mobi/en/Sparrows_Point_Shipyard) I remember that he took me to the plant one time (maybe more) and I was in awe of its size and extent. It seemed that somehow, my father’s stature was linked in some measure to the size of the place he worked, and it was huge.

One of the benefits of living near Baltimore was that my dad would take me to see the Baltimore Orioles play at Memorial Stadium. What a thrill. All my heroes were there. Brooks Robinson, Boog Powell, Jerry Adair, Stu Miller and a host of others. There was, and is nothing better than going to a big league ballgame with your dad. I was very fortunate to be with him on such occasions and still relish those experiences to this day. But baseball games were not the only things I got to do with my dad. We went fishing, visited museums, went on cool vacations, and a host of other things that made my childhood blessed. My father did a lot for us beyond providing a roof and all the essentials.

Like a lot of boys, I thought my old man was pretty smart. He seemed to be able to give an answer for everything and I didn’t think there was anything that was beyond his knowledge. He also seemed to be up on what was going on in the world and I was always under the impression back then that he was some kind of financial wizard. He would, from time to time, mention how some stock price was doing on the New York Stock Exchange. But he really confused me with all that finance talk, especially when he would mention the price of certain shares. I was only confused because I thought he was saying, “chairs”. You can imagine the confusion. I couldn’t understand how millions of chairs were being traded someplace in New York almost every day of the week. Why would people be trading chairs? Fortunately, that issue cleared up before I asked anyone how this could be.

Other than working at the steel plant, my dad had started a church in Glen Burnie and it became a large part of our lives.Church is still a critical link in our relationship. It is something I cherish deeply. As you can imagine, having a father who is a minister is a unique situation. I was keenly aware that my behavior was to be held at a higher standard than most of my friends and other kids. I’m not so sure I did so well. God is my judge.

As the years went by and I began to hold to and voice my opinions about the world I was living in. It was apparent that my dad and I were not so much in agreement about a lot of things. Nothing exemplified this difference more than the Vietnam War, politics, and the 60’s and 70’s culture. We definitely had a generation gap between us. It was during that time that our differences became more distinct and what we had in common was under pressure. My dad was beginning to appear more adversarial (as I was) and in my view, hypocritical. He was a minster of the Gospel, but I felt he had become a minister to others and left me out. Why wouldn’t he give me the same respect he would give to a total stranger? It was during my high school days that I just wanted to get out and prove him wrong. I could do better.

Fast Forward….By 1983, I had been to college, married and had two children, had a few jobs including a pastorate of my own, and was now in the US Navy, attached to a nuclear submarine. It was during that time that my relationship with my dad was really in the pits. We could find almost anything to argue about and frequently did. People did not enjoy being around us when we were together. Now mind you, I still loved my dad, but I could barely stand to be around him. Then one day while I listened to a guy talk about bitterness, it hit me. Although I was an eternal optimist, I was becoming bitter about my dad and I felt that something had to be done about. I’ve met a bunch of bitter people in my life and they’re not fun to be with. I’d rather eat lint than to be with a bitter, cynical, and sarcastic person. They can cause a total eclipse on a sunny day. I knew one thing. I was moving in that direction and something had to be done. Now, the dilemma.   Who was going to make this thing right? Surely, my old man should apologize for all his wrongs and stupidity and then things would be better. Somehow, even though it seemed like the thing I wished would happen, I knew the odds weren’t good. But that really isn’t the point here. I needed to take some responsibility for this relationship. I needed to do something. I knew it would take a paradigm shift in my thinking to move beyond anger and bitterness. I needed to have some self-respect and do the right thing. It didn’t take long before I did something.

On a weekend just after I had been assigned to the USS Shark (SSN-591), I and my family took a trip to New Milford, CT to visit my folks for the weekend. When we got there, the folks weren’t anywhere to be found. They were out shopping. So during that time, until they arrived home, I stacked a cord of wood and cleaned up around my parent’s garage which was an ongoing project. When my folks got home, the tension began building. You could cut the tension with a knife. First my mother came into the house and like all grandmother’s quickly embraced my kids and gave me a quick kiss. Then, in what seemed an eternity, my father walked in. He looked at me, paused, and then asked, “did you stack that cord of wood?” “Yes,” I replied. The tension thickened and I noticed that everyone in the room got quiet and almost froze. Then my dad asked about the garage too. I figured that he was going to let me know that I did something wrong. Then after these questions he made a comment that I could have jumped all over in rebuke. His words, “It’s about time” where the kind of words that I could have thrown right back at him, with relish. Nevertheless, I wanted a change in our relationship and I knew that this was the moment of truth. The truth is that we are all responsible for our own actions and character. We have choices in the matter. There will always be those who point to circumstance as a reason t deflect responsibility in these situations, but I have found that  those who live under the circumstance will always be living “under” something and never finding any peace or success in life.

So, what happened ? How did I respond? Well, I did what Solomon said. Agree quickly with your adversary. I looked my dad square in the eye and said without hesitation, “You’re right!”  The silence was deafening. It seemed as if I could have read “War and Peace” in the time he took to respond. At first, I expected he would continue to provide commentary on my response, but he did something totally unexpected.  He changed the subject.  When he did respond, he asked me if I would look at some plans he had been working on (I can’t remember what they were. I was in such shock).  After that moment, things changed for my dad and me.  We started to respect each other and have become very good friends, not merely a father and son.

Since then, I’ve learned a lot about my dad. He’s bared his soul and told me things I wish I had known 35 years ago. I realized that my dad, like me, has been disappointed, scared, and scarred. He’s human, not Superman. That has made him stronger and bigger in my eyes than any pretense of invincibility or bravado could ever do. The knowledge of his weakness, disappointments and fears has put him and me on the same level. I see that, like me, he’s been working out his life like we all do. As fallen humanity. That’s important for all of us to remember. We all deserve a little grace and mercy and we should try to give some, too. In fact, you’ll find that in this regard, it is better to give than receive. See: http://www.joycemeyer.org/OurMinistries/EverydayAnswers/Articles/art48.htm

Today is Father’s Day and I thank God that He’s given me the dad I’ve had. No regrets. Even the bumps in our road have taught me the value of having a good suspension system. The road doesn’t much change, but your ability to absorb the imperfections in the path helps you last longer and arrive at your destination intact. These days, when I look in the mirror every morning, I see more of my dad in me. Thank God. Being able to see him, gives me hope and a peace for the day.

Thanks Dad for everything!

Bob and NBA Trophy

Dad, holding the NBA Championship trophy won by the Boston Celtics in 2008. Taken in Martha's Vineyard.

What Makes A Dad

God took the strength of a mountain,
The majesty of a tree,
The warmth of a summer sun,
The calm of a quiet sea,
The generous soul of nature,
The comforting arm of night,
The wisdom of the ages,
The power of the eagle’s flight,
The joy of a morning in spring,
The faith of a mustard seed,
The patience of eternity,
The depth of a family need,
Then God combined these qualities,
When there was nothing more to add,
He knew His masterpiece was complete,
And so, He called it … Dad

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Veto-proof the new GI Bill. Have Halliburton manage it!

Pardon my cynicism, but if you really want George W. Bush and his surrogate father, Dick Cheney to get behind the latest revision of the GI Bill, then you had better make it a gravy train and leave the driving to Halliburton. That would muzzle any complaint the White House could possibly have. And by the way, don’t worry about the cost either. Halliburton provides value that can’t be measured by any Inspector General or Senate sub-committee…which brings me to my real point.

This past week, on May 22nd, the Senate voted and passed the 21st Century GI Bill, a World War II-style GI Bill for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans as an amendment to an emergency supplemental war funding bill. The new G.I. bill “is projected to cost about $2.5 billion per year,” roughly the cost of U.S. operations in Iraq for one week. On this vote, lawmakers had to go on record as to whether they truly support our nation’s newest generation of veterans or merely giving patronizing lip-service. Sadly, Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee protested against the bill and President George W. Bush has promised to veto it. Go figure? Strange that these two figures, who are so invested in patriotic aegis, should so publicly and recklessly expose themselves to the disdain of so many who have served the country in harm’s way.

I’m particularly saddened by former serviceman and POW, John McCain’s position on this landmark bill. McCain, along with Bush and the Pentagon have voiced their opposition to the bipartisan Webb-Hagel GI Bill by spouting fears that “too many will use it,” and it will therefore “harm” the military. According to a Congressional Budget Office study released a couple weeks ago stated Webb’s bill could, in fact, cut retention rates by 16 percent. However, that’s not all there is to the report. It actually predicts an increase of 16% in new recruitment. Note the following Think Progress report:

Literature on the effects of educational benefits on retention suggest that every $10,000 increase in educational benefits yields a reduction in retention of slightly more than 1 percentage point. CBO estimates that S. 22 (as modified) would more than double the present value of educational benefits for servicemembers at the first reenlistment point — from about $40,000 to over $90,000 — implying a 16 percent decline in the reenlistment rate, from about 42 percent to about 36 percent. […]

Educational benefits have been shown to raise the number of military recruits. Based on an analysis of the existing literature, CBO estimates that a 10 percent increase in educational benefits would result in an increase of about 1 percent in high-quality recruits. On that basis, CBO calculates that raising the educational benefits as proposed in S. 22 would result in a 16 percent increase in recruits.

The troubling thing I see in all this is the pretensions Senator McCain made concerning the motivations of those serving in uniform. His contention that people are going to enlist for just two years and then bail out of the service to go to college hardly has any merit at all and is a slap in the face to those who have given all before their two-year enlistments were up. John Soltz, chairman of VoteVets.org noted these points among other points of McCain’s disconnected and baseless logic:

First, the time of service isn’t a measure of commitment to service. What about the troops who served under six years, did a few tours in Iraq, and came back without a limb, and could no longer serve? Have they shown less of a commitment to America? I would love for this spokesperson to go to Walter Reed and tell anyone there who served three years, but now cannot continue their service, that they haven’t shown a commitment.

Second, no one is leaving the military after two years. I’d note that when you sign up, it’s for an eight year contract, most for four years active. They can serve in a number of ways. For example, I served four and a half years active (because I was Stop Lossed), went to grad school and served in the reserves, but was called back up after ten months. So, the point remains that you’re not talking about a flood of people breaking their contract after three or four years. The overwhelming majority of men and women serve out their contract for eight years, so even if they do begin school when they’re done with their active duty commitment, the military can call them up at any time they need them, for the life of the troop’s contract. A GI Bill isn’t going to change it.

Third is that if the administration was serious about retention, they would focus on the role of contractors, who continually snatch up troops, offering them up to 10 times their military pay to do a similar job in Iraq. That’s a much bigger threat to retention than offering a service-member the chance to get a quality education.

Personally, it took me months after I got back to get contractors to stop calling me, offering me six-figures, tax-free, to do work for them in Iraq. I didn’t take them up on it, but there are far more who do leave to make money. I do not blame the troops for this, by the way. They have families to provide for, and if they’re going to take on a dangerous task, it’s far more attractive to do it for a lot of money, which they can leave to their families.

But the fact is that the administration hasn’t taken on contractors – it’s embraced them. The administration continues to dole out bloated contracts to private contractors, instead of increase the size of the military, or address how the war in Iraq has overextended our forces. The result is that those contracts are spent, in large part, to lure away members of the military.

So, the latest spin by the Pentagon isn’t just nonsense – it’s offensive nonsense, because it insults the intelligence of the service members who recognize that the administration has never been serious about retention. Otherwise, they would have done something about contractors a long, long time ago.

(You can read all about this issue, and how the troops and veterans are reacting, over at www.VetVoice.com)

John McCain is no doubt a patriot and is committed to the defense of the republic. As he asserted in a Memorial Day speech, “I have many responsibilities to the American people, and I take them all seriously. But I have one responsibility that outweighs all the others and that is to use whatever talents I possess and every resource God has granted me to protect the security of this great and good nation from all enemies foreign and domestic.” Regarding the new GI Bill, he felt that the bill would undermine the effort in Iraq and would be “catastrophic.” He vowed to fight it.

Strange that John McCain would fight against a measure the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) assert “… is the military’s single most effective recruitment tool.” They further attest to the fact that “the number one reason civilians join the military is to get money for college, (and) As our military recovers and resets in the coming years, an expanded GI Bill will play a crucial role in ensuring that our military remains the strongest and most advanced in the world.” You would think that John McCain would understand the value of the bill, but for some reason, he’s choosing to look at this glass, half-empty.

I’m hoping that both John McCain and George W. Bush will truly act upon the words of a great American who once said,

“The sacrifices made by veterans deserve to be memorialized in something more lasting than marble or bronze or in the fleeting effect of a politician’s speeches. Your valor and devotion to duty have earned your country’s abiding concern for your welfare. And when our government forgets to honor our debts to you, it is a stain upon America’s honor. The Walter Reed scandal recalled, I hope, not just government but the public who elected it, to our responsibilities to the men and women who risked life and limb to meet their responsibilities to us. Such a disgrace is unworthy of the greatest nation on earth. As the greatest leaders in our history, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, instructed us, care for Americans who fought to defend us should rank among the highest of national priorities.

Those who have borne the burden of war for our sake must be treated fairly and expeditiously as they seek compensation for disability or illness. We owe them compassion, knowledge and hands-on care in their transition to civilian life. We owe them training, rehabilitation and education. We owe their families, parents and caregivers our concern and support. They should never be deprived of quality medical care and mental health care coverage for illness or injury incurred as a result of their service to our country.”

That great American was John McCain.

US Naval Academy

(The US Naval Academy, where John McCain received a free education before serving his country in combat. Now, he refuses to help advance those who have already stood in harm’s way.)

Related Articles:

A G.I. Bill for the 21st Century – The Progress Report

Fear of Troop Exodus Fuels Debate on G.I. Bill – New york Times

New CBO Report Proves McCain is ‘full of it.’ – Think Progress

Postscript: I found this comment posted by PaigeInPhilly on ABC News Political Radar. Its worth noting.

1) The McCain-Graham-Burr legislation creates a flat education benefit, not taking into account the cost of state colleges where veterans live. This would mean veterans in states where the cost of education is higher than the benefit would have go to into debt to get an education, or uproot themselves and their families to move to a place where the benefit would cover college. The Webb-Hagel Bill determines the education benefit based on the highest state college tuition in a veterans’ home state, allowing veterans to come home and attend college, without upheaval in their lives.

2) The McCain-Graham-Burr legislation creates second-class veterans, by offering those who serve in the military for 12 years the chance to transfer their education benefits to their children. This says to a veteran who serves for two years and loses both of his legs in combat that his service isn’t as valuable as someone who has served for longer.

3) The McCain-Graham-Burr legislation leaves the National Guard and Reserve out in the cold. In the current conflicts, the National Guard and Reserve have served faithfully alongside their active duty compatriots, and deserve equal benefits. Yet, the McCain bill does nothing to reward our Guard and Reservists for their cumulative service. Under the McCain bill, over 160,000 members of the Guard and Reserves who have done more than one tour in Iraq or Afghanistan would get no credit towards an education for their additional sacrifice.

Obama’s Specious Chivalry

The Obamas

Barak Obama’s dramatic defense of his wife showed a weakness in character and a specious act of chivalry. In an interview given on ABC’s Good Morning America program, the apparent Democratic nominee for president scolded the Tennessee Republican Party for producing and airing a video that re-played Michelle’s words from a speech she gave in Wisconsin this past February in which she declared, “For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country. And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change. I have been desperate to see our country moving in that direction.”

Those words started a firestorm and the Tennessee GOP, obligidly has continued to fan the flames by releasing the video last week, just prior to a visit to the state by Michelle Obama. Sen. Obama, finally having enough of it has said, “lay off my wife.” He further noted, “The GOP, should I be the nominee, I think can say whatever they want to say about me, my track record,” Obama said. “I’ve been in public life for 20 years. I expect them to pore through everything that I’ve said, every utterance, every statement. And to paint it in the most undesirable light possible. That’s what they do.” He went on to warn, “but I do want to say this to the GOP. If they think that they’re going to try to make Michelle an issue in this campaign, they should be careful. Because that I find unacceptable,” he said.

What I find so specious about all this is that the speech Michelle Obama gave in February was not at all unrelated to her husband’s campaign. It was clearly in the context of a political speech. I’m sure Barak wasn’t surprised to find Michelle in Wisconsin that day giving that speech. It’s not like she had nothing else to do that day. Heck, Obama knew exactly what she was doing. He, (being the head of his campaign) has sent his wife Michelle as a lamb among the wolves and now says its “low class” for the Tennessee GOP to take her to task for the “Obama ‘08” campaign-sponsored comments she made in a political speech. Although I agree with the statement Obama made that for Republicans “to try to distort (which they did) or to play snippets of her remarks in ways that are unflattering to her (which they are)…is low class,” I have mixed views on his subsequent comments. He duly noted, and I agree, that it “was detestable” to do these things, and “especially for people who purport to be promoters of family values, who claim that they are protectors of the values and ideals and the decency of the American people.” He would have been fine if he left it there. But he didn’t. He asserted that it was detestable, “to start attacking my wife in a political campaign.” Although I absolutely agree with him on the “attack” point, I would be probably be more sympathetic if not for the fact that these attacks happened as a result of having Michelle give political speeches for his campaign.

I’m just wondering why Obama would put his wife in the arena of political rhetoric, ad homenum comments, innuendo, and gossip, by having her give speeches where he knows full well that doing such will encourage attacks from his political foes. It seems to me that if Obama didn’t want the opposition attacking his wife for political statement, he would keep her out of the crossfire. Anything otherwise, seems to be careless, or perhaps, just bating the opposition. No matter what, I feel Obama needs to take some blame for putting his wife in the attack zone. Perhaps if Obama was really concerned about his wife taking hits from the opposition, he might just consider keeping her out of the killing zone. Anything otherwise would be negligent or even, low class.

So what does the junior senator see as appropriate means, if any, to questioning his wife’s political comments and philosophies? Perhaps Peggy Shapiro of the American Thinker has the appropriate ground rules for criticizing Obama & Company. She suggested these rules:

Rule 1 Don’t criticize family no matter who they are or what they do.

Although his wife Michelle is an active member of his campaign and a virulent critic of other candidates, she must not be made an issue in the election. “The GOP, should I be the nominee, can say whatever they want to say about me, my track record,” Obama said. “If they think that they’re going to try to make Michelle an issue in this campaign, they should be careful because that I find unacceptable, the notion that you start attacking my wife or my family.” To criticize Michelle is not part of the normal political fray, but a violation of the sanctity of family. Michelle Obama has immunity from condemnation and free reign to denigrate the country and Obama’s opponents.

Rule 2 Don’t criticize any policy that the candidate might have even if he is not mentioned by name.

The opposition must not challenge Obama’s plan to meet face-to-face with state sponsors of terror, even if the challenge does not mention the Senator by name. A Democratic firestorm broke out when President Bush told an Israeli Knesset audience that negotiating with Iran’s President, who has repeatedly committed himself to the destruction of Israel, is the false comfort of appeasement. Obama, whose policy is just that sort of false comfort, attacked the speech as “a false political attack” launched on foreign soil. Although Democrats have been critical of the U.S. on foreign soil (Obama’s recently dismissed foreign policy advisor Samantha Power is just the first that comes to mind.), partisan politics past our shores is not protocol.

Rule 3 Don’t imply that Obama’s stunning rise to power was the result of anything less than divine intervention.

As Bill Clinton discovered, referring to Obama’s unprecedented rise from an undistinguished state senator, with a short stop in the U.S. Senate, to candidate for the most powerful position in the world was “a fairytale.” Of course, Clinton did not imply that Obama conjured magical powers, but that unusual circumstances were in play. The “fairytale” remark was distorted and regurgitated as a play of the “race card.” There is no more damning or frightening epithet than to be called a racist.

Rule 4 Don’t examine any of Obama’s anti-American, racist, terrorist, or criminal associates.

It’s out of bounds to criticize a public member of his campaign in a key foreign policy position. Criticism of Obama’s associations with Reverend Wright, domestic terrorist Bill Ayers and indicted influence peddler Tony Rezko are characterized as “witch hunt” and “guilt by association.” The critic is stained by association with two of America’s darkest periods in history: the hysterical unfairness of America’s Salem Trials and Joe McCarthy’s prosecution of Americans for their “suspected” associations with Communists.

So let’s clarify the rules for the general election so that Republicans are not labeled as destroyers of families, indecent purveyors of false attacks, racists, or McCarthyites. Don’t make negative mention of Obama’s wife, his policies, his inexperience, or his associations.

What’s left? The GOP had better contact the Obama campaign to issue a list of permissible topics.

Related articles:

Michelle Obama is Fair Game (Boston Globe)

Obama’s Chivalry Nice, but…(Hartford Courant)

When cowardice masquerades as chivalry . . .

“Oh my god Marge. I think I said something stupid!”

The Buck Stops Here

last judgment

The Last Judgment – Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris

On February 13th, 2000 about 120 souls marched to the beat of a dirge played by a sole bagpiper as a mock funeral procession was conducted to observe the “death” of the Fort Trumbull neighborhood in New London, Connecticut. It had been about a month since the New London City Council voted to demolish the neighborhood to enhance the planned development of Pfizer Corporation’s Global Research facility. The residents had recently learned that they would have to take the offers the state was offering or face eminent domain proceedings.

As we march down Smith Street, passing by the Pasqualini home, I saw 95 year-old Walter Pasqualini, gazing out from his bedroom window with a grimaced look on his face. Later we would discover that Walter was crying as he realized that the threats he had heard about losing his home was indeed true. His family was worried that this reality would be devastating to his health and risky for his wife, Cesarina, who was legally blind. Walter would die within the next three months, his family insisting that the city of New London and the New London Development Corporation (NLDC) was responsible for his death. I remember standing at the grave site with Walter’s daughter, Shirley Goss, as she kept on repeating the words, “they killed him.”

The following Monday night the city council chambers were filled with irate protesters who felt the city council members should get an earful for their treatment of the residents of the Fort Trumbull neighborhood. When my name was called to speak before the council, I asked a simple, but serious question. “Why are the family members of Walter Pasqualini saying the city is responsible for Walter’s death?” That question was rooted in the crucial question of what responsibility does one assume when your actions result in harm to another person. Apparently I hit a nerve because one counselor got up from his chair and left the chamber, refusing to hear the rest of my comments. At the end of my address I reminded the counselors and some members of the NLDC that were present, that like the medical profession, the first rule of politics is to do no harm. Surprisingly, they didn’t ever admit to having the least bit of responsibility for the Walter’s ill health or his death.

For the next five years there would be more sad stories about the ill-treatment received by the remaining residents of the Fort Trumbull neighborhood. Those stories are a matter of public record. During that period, at least three other residents would die, mostly from stress-related factors. Other would develop critical health conditions due to the anxiety and stress placed on them by the harassment and ill-treatment they received at the hands of NLDC and the city. From the commencement of the implementation of the development, many of us who supported the residents had appealed to the state to insure the safety and well-being of the residents, and to be reasonable and just in their offerings for the resident’s properties. Out of perhaps, two dozen written appeals, only two responses were ever returned. The Rowland Administration seemed to turn a blind eye to the injustice and malicious behavior its agent, the NLDC was perpetrating on the residents in the neighborhood. They were satisfied that everything was being done “legally.” No matter how much they hid behind the “legal” excuse, they couldn’t possibly defend their immoral neglect of protecting some of Connecticut’s most vulnerable citizens.

Sadly, to this day there are but a few of those officials who have admitted that what happened in Fort Trumbull was wrong. Perhaps the others actually believe they didn’t do anything wrong. I would call them morally depraved. In the end, when you apply the standard of the Golden Rule to how the Fort Trumbull Municipal Development Plan was implemented, it would suggest that there are a number of city, state, and NLDC officials that will reap fear and harsh treatment. I still hope that for those who claim to be Christians, they will realize the harm they did to simple citizens, who are guilty only of wanting to live the American Dream on their own terms, and without the threat of a tyrannical government stealing that dream for the benefit of their grand schemes.

Harry Truman had a plaque on his desk that said “The Buck Stops Here.” In Fort Trumbull, no one wants to admit to the damage done to real people. No one wants to take responsibility. They keep on passing the buck. For some it is ancient history, never to be revisited. The problem is that God judges how we treat others and there is no statute of limitation. We reap what we sow. I only hope that those involved in bringing harm and disgrace to the former residents of Fort Trumbull will have the moral courage to just say they’re sorry. It would go a long way to healing this city.