Today is a heavy-heart kind of day for those of us who knew and loved William F. Buckley, Jr. I suppose I should word that in reverse. Many of us respected and admired and learned from and did, in fact, love WFB before we ever had the chance to meet him. Once you met him and spent time around him, this only all grew deeper. Many of us (of a certain age!) were kids who watched Firing Line with a dictionary and read National Review long before we could fully appreciate what a wealth of language and analysis and history and heart and soul that went into it. Today is twelve years since we got the news that he had died at home in Stanford in his home office while working.
With CPAC and the Democratic primary and all going — and the start of Lent — I feel like there should be some reflection time — time to stop hollering and instead to read some of what Bill had to say on such a broad range of topics. One of my starting recommendations for people is a talk on what Americanism seeks to be, where he traces our Founding as a country back to Bethlehem. He would talk about Beatitudes and gratitude and gave a schooling to us about fundamentals that was as relevant then as it is today.
He, of course, was a man of vast interests and diverse friendships and liked listening, not just talking. So many people have stories about when he humbly listened to them when they were just nervous fans meeting someone they had learned so much from. If you can still give a little time today, read something by WFB. Maybe you have a book on your bookshelf — I have Miles Gone By visible on my desk right now, so that may be where I’m going.
And here are only a few of many remembrances from years past:
- “Remembering WFB on the Tenth Anniversary of His Death — a Symposium” (2018)
- “God, Man, and WFB” (2017)
- Hillsdale has a great searchable online collection of WFB writings here
- “WFB and the Possibilities of Life” by Fr. Richard John Neuhaus (2008)
- “Missing WFB” (2013)
- “Where Does One Start? A Guide to Reading WFB” (2008)
Thanks be to God for WFB. Maybe he can inspire us still. And intercede for us. Pray for him and his surviving family, including his son, Christopher, and his brother, Judge Buckley — and all his beloved ones who have also left us.