The View from Here

The terrorist attacks of September 11 took place far away. But they hit close to home.

--David Schimke



David Paul Schmit

THE WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON SUN SHINES brightly in the brilliant blue sky over Lake Nokomis. Periodically, the faint sound of F-16 fighters--too high to see, circling above nearby Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport--rises above the rustling trees and lapping waves.

During a normal day of airline traffic, the hum of smaller, high-flying planes would be drowned out by the sound of commercial jets, which loom over Nokomis from dawn to dusk. But this is no normal day.

"When it's noisy, you notice it. When it's not noisy, you really notice it," observes Irving Lackey, who fishes the lake once or twice a week. "We just count the planes all in a line most days. And by the time we get to eight or ten, we got a bucketful of fish. Actually, you miss 'em on a day like today, because you get used to looking up and seeing them."

Lackey, a Marine who served three tours in Vietnam, is fishing for blue gills, along with two buddies and the four-year-old daughter of a friend, named Malasya. "I keep thinking that what I fought for is gone," he says, surveying the empty sky. "How could they not know what was going on? The government spends all the taxpayer money on spy cameras and all that surveillance, and they don't even see this coming? That's bullshit. You could pick a minnow out of this water with one of those cameras they got.

"Bush gonna have to shit or get off the pot on this thing. He's gotta do something, because he's the president now. I was no fan of Mr. Bush, but I [support] anybody when it comes to the safety of the office of the President of the United States. I'm old-school. It ain't so much what the government wants to do, but what the people want. I don't want no war, because I've seen that, but I do want retaliation. So many people got killed yesterday, and that's a hurt you don't ever get over."

Suddenly Malasya's pole begins to jerk. "Wait a minute, babe, you got one," Lackey says to her. "But all the slack on your line--you let the big one get away." He leans down, laughs, pats her on the head. As the F-16s roar in the distance, the pair keeps casting until their bucket is full.

--G.R. Anderson Jr.

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