Important Perspective…

Monday’s catastrophic fire inside the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris, terrible as it was, might just allow us to step back from the 24-hour news cycle and reflect on the longer horizon of human history. The fire damage to this iconic structure provides us an opportunity to look at a longer horizon and set other events in perspective. There is little doubt that the church will be rebuilt and restored. Even as the embers were still glowing, President Emmanuel Macron was promising to rebuild. This is not the first time its existence has been in peril. With luck, however, it may be the last.

This astonishing monument is much more than a religious edifice. Its construction began in 1160 and was, for the most part, completed in 1260. One hundred years to build, now almost 800 years old, and while it’s a Gothic masterpiece it is also a symbol of the French nation.

For centuries, Notre-Dame was the sight of royal coronations, weddings, and funerals, of Napoleon’s investiture, and anti-Catholic looting during the 18th century’s Reign of Terror. Books and plays were set there.

Having fallen into disrepair, it was impressively restored in the mid-19thcentury, and in spite of revolutions, changes in government, two world wars, occupation by the Nazi Reich, and other upheavals it has remained a formidable symbol of the French people and their Republic. It was 600 years old when Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin became America’s first ambassadors to France.

I took this picture from a boat on the Seine when we were living in Paris four years ago. There is nothing in America that corresponds to it–no religious or government building that symbolizes the endurance and spirit of its people the way the great cathedral does as it rises above the Seine to dominate Paris.

Yesterday, the great spire and most of the roof collapsed inward.

In contrast, this morning I woke up to another chorus of “No collusion. No obstruction” from the White House lawn. It was jarring in its banality, embarrassing to be reminded that Donald Trump is still the American president. Nevertheless, the juxtaposition of the two events does offer us an opportunity for perspective.

Donald John Trump is an uninformed, un-curious, overweight, almost 73-year-old, narcissist who lives on a diet of KFC, Big Macs, and Fox News. In 10 years, it’s likely he and I will both be dead. He will be far from center stage – an asterisk, anomaly, and footnote on the greater American timeline – a tiny seeping pustule on its body politic. He’ll be gone, buried with his faux-gold trappings in some garish crypt where visitors can assess the mystery of his place in American history. Notre Dame will endure…damaged, but still standing guard over the French Republic. 

Will America endure? On the timeline of history there is good news and bad news for America. The good news is that we have been protected by two great oceans, one on each side. The bad news is that we have been protected by two great oceans, one on each side. 

For most of our 243 years, the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, were natural barriers that kept us safe from foreign invasion. Until recently, they gave us time and space to react to foreign threats and keep us isolated from immediate physical harm. We were perfectly situated to protect ourselves while staying connected to the broader world. Jefferson and Franklin traveled to Europe in order to maintain the connection to our European roots and establish alliances for our mutual benefit. Donald Trump is trying for some undetermined reason to undermine those established alliances. In today’s world, it is not enough to have natural barriers. Missiles and cyber-invasion are threats that are not impeded by topography. Diplomacy and personal relationships are more important than ever. 

I ask myself repeatedly how Trump, an American child of wealth and privilege, could have passed up the opportunity to travel and learn about the world? How could he have chosen life inside the insular New York bubble when there was so much more outside? How could a man so lacking in curiosity, so embarrassingly ignorant of world politics and geography, become president of the United States? Why did American voters choose a president more interested in personal wealth than their own welfare.

I am reminded of a vignette in Graham Greene’s The Third Man where one of the characters riffs on history by saying that in 3000 years the Italians have seen the rise and fall of the Etruscan and Roman civilizations, Christianity, the Black Plague, the Renaissance and Reformation, endless regional battles, and two world wars while in the same 3000 years, without confronting a major problem, Switzerland’s singular achievement is the cuckoo clock. Donald Trump is our cuckoo clock—limited in almost every way – intelligence, emotional IQ, world experience, taste, empathy, and generosity despite his immense privilege.

The fire at Notre-Dame is a catastrophe of almost unimaginable proportions but thankfully only temporary. It will be rebuilt, restored and reclaim its stature as a secular pilgrimage site and religious monument. Donald Trump’s expiration date is fast approaching. It is probable that he will be a one-term president, cast aside in 2020 and in time, through the lens of history, be regarded as the most dangerous and incompetent person ever to hold that high office. 

The Paris fire allows us to gain historical perspective on the importance of people and events. Notre-Dame is immensely important. Donald Trump is a momentary aberration and singularly unimportant in the big picture.

As Parisians gathered to watch the conflagration yesterday, to sing hymns and kneel in prayer, I listened to an international correspondent describe the scene from the courtyard of Shakespeare and Company, one of the world’s great English-language bookstores. Four years ago, during an extended stay in Paris, Marilynn and I spent time rooting around in Sylvia Beach’s small rooms talking about books. Think what a different world we might have if Donald Trump, with all his wealth and privilege, had at an early age decided to learn about the world and root around in Shakespeare and Company.

Cultural Placeholders…

I’ve been thinking about generational differences lately and how each generation anchors itself with a set of creative icons, go-to figures, that serve as reference points on a timeline of cultural awareness.

What do you say or who do you think of when people ask you for your favorite movie, book, painting, or rock group? Who’s on that playlist? What music pops to mind? What paintings do you think of? What writers do you refer to and re-read? How you answer those questions most likely depends on the artistic/creative imprinting of your generation. 

The writers that became my anchors are the icons of the Lost Generation – Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and John Steinbeck. They were the writers who were esteemed when I was an impressionable college student. Later, came the Redford and De Niro films, the Warhol paintings, Dylan, the Beatles, and the Grateful Dead, the personalities of my cultural soundtrack and the touchstones that still have a grip on me today.

So, what do these cultural anchors say about us? Do we consciously choose them as role models? Do our choices mean we were formed and remain locked in a fixed time frame? No, we didn’t consciously decide to stop growing when we found our benchmarks but they were a way we grounded ourselves as we grew into our own personal histories.

Over time, there is a natural “sort and select” process that allows some figures to rise and endure while others, prominent in their time, sink out of sight. Eventually, those that endure become classics – Mark Twain and J.D. Salinger, Winslow Homer and Andy Warhol, Louis Armstrong and Elvis, Josephine Baker and Meryl Streep, but every day that passes others emerge. Who’s next? Ed Sheeran, Madhuri Vijay, Saoirse Ronan?

The point is not that we’ve stopped reading new writers, viewing new art, or listening to new music. Our benchmarks aren’t signs of arrested development, but snapshots on our cultural timelines. I know, for instance, that I haven’t paid the same kind of attention to hip-hop as I have to rock or country. I was weaned on Bob Dylan and astonished to discover recently that Run-DMC hit the pop scene and captured a Grammy almost 40 years ago while I was parsing Dire Straits’ lyrics. It was a fork in the road, and I missed the hip-hop turn off.

I don’t mean that the generations are siloed, but tastes change and I want my kids, grandkids, and greats to know the classics from the Iliad and Odyssey to Bohemian Rhapsody just as I want to sample and understand graphic novels and conceptual art. I know the kids are more likely to remember Lady Gaga or Beyoncé than Paul Simon or Billy Joel but that’s all in the process of generational change.

Styles change in the arts just as in fashion. I benchmarked an Isaac Stern concert when I was in college. Sitting in the second row for the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, I watched the strands of his horsehair bow fly apart and wondered if the final filament would separate before the end of the third and final movement. It was an epic moment in my musical education, but last summer, 60 years later, at Tanglewood, I watched and listened just as attentively as Yuja Wang, one of today’s superstars rehearsed the Brahms’ Piano Concerto. The music of Brahms and Tchaikovsky is timeless, but performance styles have changed in my lifetime.

Professionally, it has been the same. I was 10 years old when Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in the Bell X-1. 13 years later I was flying 1000 mph in an F8 Crusader off the California coast. Two years after that, I called Air Traffic Control to report a streaking contrail in the early evening sky high above me. I was at 44,000’ and there wasn’t a airplane, military or commercial that could fly higher. That contrail turned out to be Neil Armstrong in the X-15 on a secret test. Then there was the moon shot, the moon walk, the space shuttle and space station. Time flies.

I’m not in the aviation business any more, but the benchmarks left by Yeager and Armstrong remain, though we continue to add new ones. I added one in 2009 when Sully Sullenberger landed his Airbus 320 on the Hudson River and saved the lives of all 155 souls on board. Sometimes, a combination of skill, training, and a smattering of good luck is all it takes to create a “Miracle on the Hudson” and give us another solid benchmark.

I’ve shared some of my benchmarks; what are yours? What was your favorite movie, book, or piece of art? How did they help shape your taste in later life? It’s worth the trip to revisit your benchmarks and test them against your taste today. They are part of who you were and who you have become.

 

Kindergarten Rules Updated…

In 1988, a local Unitarian Universalist minister published a book called All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. It was a back to basics primer for Baby Boomers. It snuck onto the New York Times bestseller list and stayed there for 2 years. Twenty-five years and 7,000,000 copies later the author, Robert Fulghum, revised his little primer and added  a few new essays for the anniversary re-release. Today, his advice is just as cogent as it was when first published – maybe more so in the Age of Trump.

Here’s Fulghum’s Kindergarten code, in red, updated for the Age of Trump, in black:

“All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate-school mountain (We don’t know about Donald, since he ordered his schools to hide his grades),but there in the sand pile at Sunday School. These are the things I learned: (Pay attention Donald. Turn off Fox and Friends. This is not Executive Time).

  • Share everything.Your tax returns and all the tainted money your father gave you. Be grateful.
  • Play fair. Stop lying, cheating at golf, and stealing from the American people.
  • Don’t hit people.Or put them in cages.
  • Put things back where you found themRussian money. Golf divots. Your dick.
  • Clean up your own mess. OMG, this is the big one. If you’ll get out of the way, the Democrats will do it for us.
  • Don’t take things that aren’t yours. The Affordable Care Act.
  • Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody. Mexicans, disabled reporters, Christine Blasey Ford, and the other 372,200,000 of us.
  • Wash your hands before you eat. Especially after you put everything back where you found it.
  • FlushFox News.
  • Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. KFC, Big Mac’s, and porn stars are not.
  • Live a balanced life—learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some. Hard to balance when you’re dancing with Lucifer.
  • Take a nap every afternoon. Alone. No tweeting.
  • When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together. If Melania lets you.
  • Wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that. The great wonder is how Trump ever got to the White House and how he manages to stay there.
  • Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup—they all die. So do we. And, so will Trump, in spite of Dr. Ronnie Jackson’s bogus misrepresentations.
  • And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned—the biggest word of all—LOOK. Not TAKE.
  • Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living. Fulghum’s Golden Rule is not a reference to the tacky decoration in Trump’s New York apartment, but I couldn’t resist this picture.

Take any one of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or your government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm. Think what a better world it would be if we all—the whole world—had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had as a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess.

And it is still true, no matter how old you are—when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.” **

Robert Fulghum is not as snarky as I am, but his good advice and literary success has given him the freedom to write and live as he wants. He currently splits his time between Moab, Utah and the island of Crete. In 2014 he returned to Seattle and performed a marriage ceremony for our friends, Steve and Karin Columba Price, in the Washington Park Arboretum. He was also a longtime friend of our friends Tom and Priscilla Wilson. Tom died in 2015 but whenever I hear Fulghum’s name I think of his friendship with Tom. Both were men of great good sense who practiced what they learned in Kindergarten. Thanks to both of them.

**Special thanks to Mr. Fulghum who let me share his copyright material.

Forgiveness and Tolerance…the limits.

Forgiveness (noun): “Psychologists generally define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness.” (http://greatergood.berkeley.edu)

Tolerance (noun): “a willingness to accept behavior and beliefs that are different from your own; even if you disagree or disapprove of them, or alternatively the ability to bear something unpleasant or annoying, or to keep going despite difficulties.” (dictionary.cambridge.org)

I don’t know the etymology, but my brain keeps cycling between the two. They go together but they are not the same. Both involve forbearance. Forgiveness is more personal and active, something one does to unstick oneself in order to move on. Tolerance is more passive, more about accepting diversity in behavior, ideas, and people, but both have limits.

In his book, The Limits of Tolerance, coming in May, Columbia professor Denis Lacorne reminds us that “The modern notion of tolerance—the welcoming of diversity as a force for the common good―emerged in the Enlightenment in the wake of centuries of religious wars. First elaborated by philosophers such as John Locke and Voltaire, religious tolerance gradually gained ground in Europe and North America. But with the resurgence of fanaticism and terrorism, religious tolerance is increasingly being challenged by frightened publics.” (The Limits of Tolerance: Enlightenment Values and Religious Fanaticism (Religion, Culture, and Public Life) by Denis Lacorne

The Holocaust is ground zero for both propositions. People directly impacted can’t forgive the “final solution,” can’t comprehend how it happened, and can’t understand why it was tolerated. As Justice Potter Stewart said about obscenity in Jacobellis vs. Ohio(1945), “I know it when I see it.” So it is with genocide, but what about more complex emotional material?

Is it OK for Christians to tolerate Donald Trump’s lack of moral principles because they like his tax, anti-immigration, and anti-abortion policies? Are they forgiving the president, tolerating his behavior, or just turning a blind eye if it helps achieve the result they want?

Where is the line that says you’ve exceeded the limits of my tolerance? What happens when personal moral beliefs conflict with more immediate political or family needs. I confess, I’m mystified when conservative Christians find it so easy to place their religious ethical values on the sidelines to embrace Trump when their politics are at stake? Is that the quid pro quo? Swear allegiance to an amoral despot in return for Christian-supported legislation?

Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. Thou shalt not covet… thy neighbor’s wife, thy neighbor’s house. Thou shalt not take the name of the lord in vain. Mr. Trump has done it all. As a Christian shouldn’t this alarm you?

Are Trump’s sins forgivable? Those sins? Yes. Most of them are venal and personal. I don’t care if he screwed Stormy Daniels or had an affair with Karen McDougal. I’m not outraged. I’m just disgusted. Mr. Trump is a moral failure, but God loves a sinner, so it’s not difficult for me to forgive him. I have no skin in Donald Trump’s miserable life. If God can forgive him, who am I to say no?

That’s personal, but can we, as Americans, afford to forgive him for actions that undermine democracy and fail to meet the high standards we expect of our presidents? Since his inauguration two years ago, he has lied or misled the American people more than 8158 times (Washington Post, Jan 18,2019). He has defended neo-Nazis and ruthless dictators, made fun of the disabled, called Mexicans rapists and terrorists, disparaged NATO, pardoned felons like Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and attacked a Gold Star family and a dead American hero, John McCain.

These are not the behaviors we expect of our president? Are they beyond the limits of our tolerance? Some are serious crimes. Some impulsive rants, and some are low class deviations from traditional presidential norms. What about reciprocity, one of the new words he learned as president? Should we point out that his own inability to forgive, his grudges, and his petty resentments have no predicate and lack reciprocity?

I remember Gandhi’s dictum on forgiveness: “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Trump is weak and impulsive, sociopathic and amoral, so while his personal conduct may be forgivable his performance as the highest elected official in America is not. He’s an excellent test dummy for any discussion of the limits of tolerance. As the American philosopher Sydney Hook noted, “Tolerance always has limits. It cannot tolerate what in itself is actively intolerant.”

Several years ago, I was on the receiving end of a lecture on forgiveness. I thought it was harsh. It was delivered by a Zen Buddhist who seemed to be hanging on to personal resentments. Maybe I read it wrong. Maybe it was deserved. In any event, it stayed with me. Something to work on, as they say, in the practice.

“It is critical to remember that forgiveness doesn’t automatically mean a reconciliation. We don’t have to return to the same relationship or accept the same …” (psychologytoday.com)

Maybe that’s my lesson… I had a picture in my mind of how a Zen practitioner “should” act…but that wasn’t what I experienced. Today, I understand that Zen practitioners, Christians, and Donald J. Trump are all fallible human beings. The Zen rebuke confused me but, like other Zen methods, it shocked me into a new awareness.

I’m fairly neutral on the human capacity for good and evil. It cuts both ways, not as Trump said about Charlottesville, “some very fine people on both sides.” We are each the sum total of our experience, our fears, our genetic make-up, and the serendipitous nature of our geography. But there is a difference between forgiveness and tolerance, and there are limits to both.

I’ve more or less given up hope that my unfinished business (or Trump’s) will be cleaned up before I check out, and though its verse is dark I take consolation from Bonnie Raitt’s lament in “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” It is, after all, a love song.

‘Cause I can’t make you love me if you don’t
You can’t make your heart feel something it won’t
Here in the dark in these final hours
I will lay down my heart and I’ll feel the power
But you won’t, no you won’t
‘Cause I can’t make you love me if you don’t

Maybe that’s how it is with unfinished business. Forgiveness, like compromise, helps us move forward in life – not perfectly – but it helps us leave our unfinished business behind. We should all be mindful in the big picture sense that it’s OK to draw a line that limits tolerance when it threatens us as individuals or as a nation.

And, speaking of unfinished business, these two are my inspiration now.

They’re into the of art of living.

Rite of Passage…

Every culture has rites of passage, those ceremonies or events that mark important transitions in a person’s life. Birth, puberty, and death are generic passages. Baptisms, bar mitzvahs, graduations, and weddings are more specific, but the most important traditional rite across all societies is the passage from childhood or youth to adult. Native American boys endured strenuous ceremonial tests to prove their manhood while African girls often suffer grisly genital mutilation to cross over. Most modern societies have less ritualistic rites to mark important the transition.

The first tests in my personal rite of passage were surviving Marine Corps Officer Candidate Class at Quantico, Virginia and Naval flight training in Florida and Texas. When the golden wings of a Naval Aviator were pinned on, I thought that was it. I was puffed up and ready to go. All the boxes were checked, all the tests passed, and Jack Jet was set to roll.

But, that wasn’t “it.” The rite of passage wasn’t complete until a true American hero scolded my sorry ass and made me grow up.

For years, since my time as a Marine pilot, I’ve entertained friends by telling the story of my last flight on active duty. The length and drama of the story often depends on the number of tequila shots I’ve had, but at the time I was flying the F8 Crusader at MCAS El Toro, loving the airplane and the esprit de corps of my squadron mates. We were young, full of testosterone, and had a self-confidence that came from flying the world’s hottest fighter at speeds up to 1000 mph. Pretty heady stuff for a 23-year-old.

In August of 1962 I was just wrapping up my active duty obligation and about to start law school. On that last day at El Toro I was scheduled for an air-to-air tactics sortie with a squadron mate – a dogfight – the thing we most loved to do. As we were briefing for the flight, we learned that one of the aircraft was down for maintenance and the flight was going to be canceled. We were both disappointed, but, the Ops officer intervened and told me to take the good plane out alone and “wring it out and have some fun.” This was his gift to me on my last day in the squadron.

Without going into detail, I did “have some fun,” flying high, low, and everyplace in between – enough fun that when I returned to the base, Ops radioed to warn me that the skipper was pissed, and staff cars were pulling into the squadron parking lot in droves.

The next day the Santa Ana Register reported an F8 Crusader was seen “at car top level on 17th Street” and I carried that clipping around in my wallet until it turned from white to yellow and eventually to powder. Local citizens reported an airplane flying through backyards and one threatened to sue because the airplane had singed the leaves on his orange tree.

It was the beginning of a miserable self-inflicted three weeks for me. I was held on active duty, kind of like house-arrest, while “the episode” was under investigation and a decision made about whether a court-martial was the appropriate punishment. All complainants were to be interviewed and their stories duly recorded.

In the end, the investigating officer recommended a formal 40-page Letter of Reprimand, forfeiture of $180 ($1530 in today’s dollars) fine, and indefinite grounding, no more flying, but no court-martial.

I was released from active duty with barely enough time to load the car and drive to Berkeley for the start of school. I had been planning to pay for school by flying with the Marine Reserve squadron at Alameda, but the grounding kept me from joining the squadron. Money was so tight that I lived on Kraft Mac and Cheese and an apple a day ($17 worth) the last month of my first year in school, but in June my grounding ended and I was allowed to resume flying with an A4 squadron at Alameda.

It’s always fun to tell the story, but over the years and many moves the Letter of Reprimand was lost. Last summer a squadron mate told me how to get a copy, and last week it showed up in my mailbox.

I remembered it as something like the police report in Alice’s Restaurant, complete with diagrams, maps with arrows, and hyperbolic descriptions of “willful and wanton disregard for human life” etc. What I found was a well-documented description of my airborne transgressions along with my own apology for embarrassing the service and putting lives in danger. The story is still funny, but I had a humbling epiphany when I read through the file and decided to Google the name of the steely-eyed general who signed and delivered the Letter.

General J. P. Condon was the Commanding Officer of the 3rd Marine Air Wing, and it was he who summoned me to receive the Letter of Reprimand. I arrived at base headquarters, and after what seemed like an eternity his adjutant told me the General was ready. I entered his office and had to walk across what seemed like an acre of carpet to stand in front of his desk. My heart was pounding when he looked up. His elbows were on the desk and his gnarled hands were clasped under his chin. He paused and stared at me before delivering the line I will never forget, “Son, that shit when out with V-J Day.”

That was it. He handed the Letter of Reprimand and returned to the paperwork on his desk. I said, “Yes sir” took the Letter, did an about face, and left his office. I never saw him again, but I will never forget thinking he looked like a movie general – someone out of central casting – blue eyes, close-cropped white hair, leathery brown face, and two big stars on his collar.

At the time, I didn’t fully appreciate what General John P. Condon had done for me. I thought he was simply going through the pro forma steps of scolding a junior officer for engaging in a stupid ill-conceived testosterone fueled “episode.” The truth is he saved my sorry ass.

At first, I thought the Captain in charge of the investigation was kidding when he mentioned the possibility of a court-martial, but he wasn’t. General Condon could have ruined my life. Maybe he saw a version of his younger self in me –young, brash, and aggressive – something he thought a Marine fighter pilot should be that dictated the choice of the reprimand rather than court-martial. Or maybe he may simply wanted to get rid of me and hoped a Letter of Reprimand would take care of the matter at Marine Corps headquarters and the Santa Ana Register.

What I didn’t know, quaking before his desk, is that I was in the presence of greatness. I didn’t realize that Major General J.P. Condon was a true American hero, and as a young Commanding Officer in a Corsair squadron on Guadalcanal, it was Major Condon who developed the plan that succeeded in intercepting and shooting down Admiral Yamamoto, Japan’s Navy Minister and Commander of the Japanese fleet, a turning point in WWII, and that later on that he commanded a Marine Air Group at Okinawa during the last major battle of WWII or that in Korea he commanded the last Marine Air Wing to fly the Corsair and transition to the jets in combat.

These are pictures of John Pomeroy Condon, USMC. The picture on the far left is Condon as a 1st Lt., about the same age and rank I was when I flew through Santa Ana. On the far right is General Condon before his hair turned white and he handed me the Letter, and in the middle is Major J.P. Condon when he was serving in the Pacific and credited with bringing down Admiral Yamamoto’s airplane.

General Condon retired from the Marine Corps in 1962 shortly after delivering his “Son, that shit went out with V-J Day” showstopper line to 1st Lt. John D. Bernard. Following his Marine retirement he became an executive with North American Aviation and later President and CEO of the National Alliance of Businessmen in Washington DC. In addition to his other accomplishments, he earned a doctorate in Public Administration from UC Irvine and wrote a history entitled Corsairs to Panthers: Marine Aviation in the Korean War. Another hero of the Greatest Generation, he lived a remarkable life. He died in December 1996 at age 85.

I will forever be grateful to him for his generous treatment and for delivering the final lesson in my rite of passage. I’m sorry I didn’t have a chance to meet him under different circumstances. I’d like to have thanked him.

Semper Fidelis