Just as the critical moment, when we had taken the great Lindbergh legend up in the air once more and run it into the ground, America has discovered a new hero. Some day our children will have the privilege of celebrating the 50th anniversary of George Willig's climb up the World Trade Center.
Willig has all the makings of a national hero. In one fantastic act, he managed to violate laws against, disorderly conduct, reckless endangerment, criminal trespass and climbing a building without a license, as well as cost the city of New York $250,000 in police and equipment. For this, thousands cheered him, a huge banquet was quickly arranged in his honor and the mayor of New York called a news conference "to congratulate him for a courageous act."
It is easy to understand their excitement. We needed someone to restore our faith in the nobility of the human soul, someone for our children to strive to emulate, someone who would show the way to a better future for us all.
Lindbergh had certainly filled that role by staying awake all the way across the Atlantic without being shown a movie or asked if he wanted a cocktail before dinner. When his 50th anniversary was celebrated, just two weeks ago, there was much nostalgic musing that we would never see his like again. But then a few days later, we got Willig. Just as Lindbergh led the way to the day when an ordinary citizen with $1,600 could take a three-hour flight across the Atlantic and be stuck at Kennedy Airport for two days because it was surrounded by the cars of protesters, Willig has enabled us to envision the day when crowds of people will be able to get to the tops of skycrapers effortlessly because the elevators will be functioning properly.
But his achievement is wider than that. He had done wonders for New York - in addition to using up its excess municipal funds - by giving it meaning. Willig modestly said that he climbed the monster-sized building "because it was there." But of course by climbing it, he supplied the answer to people who had been wondering for some time what a 1,350-foot building was there for .
Willig's work is not over, however.By appearing on "Good Morning, America" and in People magazine, he has shown a willingness to fulfull the obligations of greatness. There are more.
He still has to write a book, make a movie, pose for a T-shirt and donate his papers to Yale, so that we may learn the secrets of his greatness.
And he has tell us how America should manage her foreign policy.