angela_n_hunt: (Me 2014)
Today is the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the day my father died, fourteen years ago today.

Fourteen.

It feels more like four days today. Like I just saw him yesterday and if I turn fast enough or around the right corner, I'll find him standing there, grinning at me like a loon.

I miss my father so much today.

There's nothing new to say or for me to tell you about my father. If you track either the Hugh M. Hyatt tag or the Poppa Bear tag here on my LJ, you will find my memories of him. Stories that I've kept alive as best as I can, because it's all that I have left of him. The things he touched and the things he made are not him. But the memories... Those are things, moments that retain a bit of his soul. A bit of who I knew and remember of the man. That I remember of my father.

This year has been so so full of death and grief. So many have died or been killed and not far away, not across the water, but in communities that I travel through, losses to friends I have known for years. Artists gone that I have known of for years. Children taking their lives, because they're not sure that the next four years would be survivable for them, because the gender they were did not comply with the physical form they were born with. Artists also taking their lives, because they weren't sure if they'd have health care the next four years, and better to make one's own exit than be at the mercy of a cruel and merciless government that demands Obedience, and dispenses only pain and a slow death from pre-existing conditions, because apparently the sick and disabled don't deserve care or help or gods forbid, hope. And on top of that, a friend I knew since high school finally lost the battle with his heart, the organ he had been given with a congenital defect that finally got him. He lived longer than any of us thought possible. So much so that I think we all thought he would be here for a little bit longer.

But maybe that would have never been true, no matter when he died. Jason's dying would have been a loss no matter what, and a lot of us would have wished for more time. Not for us. For his children and for his wife, who has been such a pillar of strength and power, that I am in awe and hope that when or if she needs to break or just take a break, we will all be here to catch her.

It's the least I can do. The least *we* can do as her community.

And here we are on Pearl Harbor Day and the World is on fire and we are firmly in the grips of what Heinlein called the Crazy Years. I like to think that my father would have been a voice of reason during all of this. Spoken out especially against the willful denial of scientific fact presented in hard data. This once, his stubborness would have been a gift and a source of power. He loved to argue. I like to think that he probably could have out-argued the Devil. He had that in him.

I don't have his facility for the math or the science. I can only write about the people and the art and the music that I track. The politics that I immerse myself in, because at heart, I am a truly political animal, and in another life, life in DC and write analysis for people who probably never read them. But whatever. That life is not this life and I work with the tools that I've been given.

Oh, it hurts this year, Lady. It really fucking hurts. And next year doesn't look any better, in fact the next decade looks to be pretty fucking shitty. We're going to lose more people, and not to natural causes. Even my father's heart attack was an expected risk. It's not like the family history doesn't run in that direction.

So apparently today is going to be full of fire and tears. I will burn incense and offerings and pray. I will meditate and weep.  I will rail at the cruelty of men and the blind neutrality of the vast Universe.

I need a box of tissue and a new cup of coffee. The crying is giving me that stupid headache that seems to follow such outbursts.

Pop, what are we going to do? I know that we can prevail, but I also know what the human cost of that effort will be. It'll be body count in both literal bodies, and in a lot of minds. It will break a lot of people and we will lose people we love and gods, I just want it to stop. I just. want. it. to. stop.

Goddess, help. Help. Help, help, help.

I don't know what to do.

I want my Daddy.
angela_n_hunt: (Who watches?)

Albert




We are like dwarfs on the shoulders of giants, so that we can see more than them, and things at a greater distance, not by virtue of any sharpness of sight on our part, or any physical distinction, but because we are carried high and raised up by their giant size.

- Bernard of Chartres, 12th Century scholar




On Friday, around six in the evening, my uncle by marriage, Albert “Bud” Wheelon, died.


I don’t know how this is my life, some days. Growing up in the shadow of my own father, a giant in his field, and then marrying into a family with giants of their own. Possibly it’s the only way it could have happened. For I was never intimidated by Bud. I had grown up with men and women just like him, because of the peripatetic orbit of my father’s work and career. So when my husband first introduced me to his family, I was, frankly, not impressed.


It took time for that to happen. And when it did…


Bud wasn’t just a giant. He was humble and erudite and fucking brilliant, and in short order, I loved him and continue to love him with a fidelity as close to the love for my own father as can be possible. He was kind and gentle, but with a core of titanium that you could just feel. You didn’t want to play poker with him. His Game Face was that good.


He did enormous things in his life. Youngest and first Deputy Director of Science and Technology for the Central Intelligence Agency. The second Mayor of Area 51, responsible for wrapping up the U2 program and making OXCART go, a project that we all know better as the SR-71 Blackbird, a plane that I was obsessed with as a child, a project that dear friends of my father worked on in direct capacity as engineers and fabricators, and which Bud oversaw to great success. The only civilian who ever got to *ride* in her, a fact that I was insanely jealous of, because he got what I had always dreamed of.



Because of him, we got the KH-9 HEXAGON which some will know as the Big Bird satellite. Because of him? You now have Google Earth.


They don’t make people like Bud anymore. Except that I think maybe they do. But they are not held in the esteem that they once were. I think that it is people like Aaron Schwartz and Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning who are his intellectual heirs. I think that, like my father, Bud’s legacy is both a challenge and a burden and a call to action.


I think that I am ridiculously grateful for my own history, because faced with this challenge and duty, I do not find myself quailing. I find myself bracing my feet and nodding. And saying only one thing:


Rest well, sir. We have the watch.



Originally published at ANGELA N. HUNT. You can comment here or there.

angela_n_hunt: (Power of Print)
This is a test of the Internet Emergency Broadcast System...

If you just sit there and let the US Government take your rights away, this is all you're going to get...

Rise up...

YES

Jan. 20th, 2009 10:11 am
angela_n_hunt: (Default)
"So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have travelled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

"Let it be told to the future world...that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it]."

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations."

- President Barack Obama
Post Inauguration Speech, January 20th, 2009

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