The Cost of Inaction on the 4th of July
(Excerpt from One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot’s Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview)
Sometimes the hardest trials are suffered by the ones you love most. The Pensacola beaches were something to dream about, but we were about to experience a nightmare.
On July 4, 2002, Karry and I drove to the beach to see the fireworks. We paused next to a restaurant to choose a good viewing location, and as we scoped out the scene, a tiny projectile screamed flatly through the air with a high whistle and pop.
Concerned about shooting bottle rockets in a crowded location, I traced the thin smoke-trail horizontally back to its point of origin: a group of young men with beers in hand.
How could they be so stupid?
Another mini bottle rocket shot across the crowd, only feet above the ground, and crashed next to a small family sitting 50 feet in front of us. Did that just hit a little girl?
The parents got up and inspected their child; I couldn’t tell whether or not anyone was hit. The father looked around, and for a moment, he fixed his gaze in my direction.
Is he looking at me? I can’t believe those idiots just hit that girl with a bottle rocket!
I had to make a decision. Do I try to talk sense into the drunken buffoons? Do I force them to give up their bottle rockets? Do I call the police?
Movement in my peripheral vision broke my gaze at the family. A quick hiss preceded a dampened thump as a bottle rocket passed inches in front of my face and slammed into Karry’s left eye. Upon impact, she released my hand, spun to the left, and dropped to the ground.
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About Jason B. Ladd
Jason is an author, speaker, Marine, and father of seven. He has flown the F/A-18 Hornet as a Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 (MAWTS-1) Instructor Pilot and the F-16 as an Instructor Pilot. His award-winning book One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot’s Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview has been optioned for film adaptation. He is represented by Julie Gwinn of The Seymour Agency.