Saturday, May 16, 2009
Blowing up the Washington Monument!!
In 1982 I got a phone call from my sister Beth Ann and her husband Zeis who said they wanted to come to Pennsylvania and visit with us in our home in Berwyn.
During their stay we decided to take in a quick whorl wind trip to Washington D.C. to see some of the sites. They had a limited amount of time, but since we knew the area we were happy to accommodate them.
When we arrived in D.C.; we drove around and visited most the monuments and sites. We took a few pictures to record the event and then our scheduled last stop was the White House. The sun had gone down and if I recall correctly it was somewhere about 9:30pm. A Few people were splattered here and there as the city was quickly shutting down for the night. However over near the North West side of the White House there was a street light on the corner and there was a small group of guys standing in front of an older man who had anti war posters. He was wearing a pancake leather brown hat and had a long blue faded trench coat with thick black glasses.
Knowing that my sister had really never been exposed to demonstrators/protestors, I suggested that we go over and observe the action in the big city. Soon we found ourselves joining in with the others who were involved in a dialog with this old man. There were two black Vietnam vets who were challenging him in his anti American rhetoric.
Then he looked at me for my response, and I said to him “I think you’re problem is that you’re afraid to die and if you knew Jesus Christ, death would not be such an issue”.
I told him that according to the word of God there will always be wars and rumors of wars until the end of time. I went on to say that if there was a nuclear war I would hope that the first bomb would slide down my chimney and I wouldn’t feel a thing as I would become a vapor.
His eyes began to glass over as he told me he was an “atheist”! and that “I was a genocidalist, a war monger, and an annihilator”!!
The conversation lasted about a half an hour as I tried to tell him about Christ and how he cared for him. He went on to say how much the United States had no choice but to disarm!
No matter what I told him he continued with his rhetoric. It was time for us to move on because it was getting too late and we were getting nowhere with this guy. He was convinced of his beliefs and I wasn’t about to change mine.
The Next day I got this panic phone call from my sister as they were heading back to Indiana on the turnpike. She said that I had to turn on the news!!!. Unfortunately I was nowhere near a TV so she went on to explain that the guy we were talking to last night at the White House just got himself killed.
Evidently the first thing he did the next morning was he rented a Ryder Box truck and drove it to the Washington Monument and parked it on the grass out in the open. With a blow horn in one hand he yelled out commands to who ever was listening that he was about to blow up the Washington Monument if the United States did not disarm! This man was fanatical about his beliefs and I suppose I was the last person to talk to him about his soul.
When the swat teams arrived they told him to get out of the van and lay down on the grass. They told him if he moved the van towards the monument they would take him out.
Then just like in the movies he reached over and started up the van and began to inch closer to which the swat team responded with a hail of bullets being pumped in to his van.
After the ordeal was over the Washington park police, the FBI and swat teams merged together to see who this guy really was. When they got to the truck they found a Big Ben Alarm clock duct taped to several roadside flares.
According to the news he had a history of participating in several World wide anti- war demonstrations and had spent time in foreign jails for various demonstration violations.
The Big Ben alarm clock and the flares which had all been taped together like a simulated bomb was hardly a match for those who took him seriously on that morning he allowed himself to be killed.
The tragedy was that he had one last opportunity to turn his life around for Christ and more than likely he never took it seriously.