Friday, April 4, 2008

William F. Buckley, Jr. memorial service

Today the memorial service for William F. Buckley Jr. is being held at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York.

Since writing an MH memorial of sorts of our own for WFB, time has been spent going down memory lane. Re-reading Overdrive, reading Crusising Speed and Up From Liberalism for the first time, watching clips from old "Firing Line" episodes.

But more on that another time. Today is a day when, depending on one's beliefs, it is particularly appropriate to say a prayer for WFB's soul, to say a prayer for his family, or to reflect again on what he left us all.

It is also perhaps worth reading a piece that appears in today's National Review Online written by his son, Christopher. Entitled "My Old Man and the Sea," it is superficially the reminiscences of a son reflecting on the countless days and hours spent sailing with his father. It would be unfair to ruin the piece for others, but anyone who treasures memories of long days in the elements side-by-side with a great father can't help but relate. And this line, written about their first trans-Atlantic voyage, is priceless:

He taught me on that trip how to navigate by the sun and stars with a sextant. It’s a skill that today, in the age of satellite navigation, fewer fathers impart to their sons. As I look back, it seems to me one of the most fundamental skills a father can teach a son: finding out where you are, using the tools of our ancestors.

Another piece featured again is one that appeared earlier, but that was saved in order to be savored -- John O'Sullivan's retrospective. It is perhaps the best overview that has appeared so far. One of the best lines, and one that deserves reflection, is this:

...he took individualism to the extreme length of being an individual. This did not always please the dogmatists of individualism.

Addendum: Further information to be found in Part II on the memorial service.

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