I live in a small town, Dwight, Illinois, about 35 miles southwest of Joliet. It is a lovely place, about 4400 people, set in the midst of a sea of corn and soybeans. My wife and I moved here in 1985 and have been very happy. Soon after we moved to Dwight I joined the local Rotary Club. There I met Jim Oughton and his brother Richard Oughton. Both had served in WW2, Jim as a naval officer, and Dick as a marine fighter pilot. They were also the two richest men in town, the scions of a family that had been the wealthiest family in town for well over a century.
I quickly grew to like Jim and Dick. They were both intelligent, humorous and unassuming. I enjoyed bantering with them at the club and working with them on community projects. One day I was talking to Jim about his kids. He proudly and fondly recited to me how they were doing, and then a shadow came over his face. He told me how his daughter Diana had joined the Weather underground and died in an explosion in 1970 while she and two other weathermen were making bombs which they intended to set off at a dance that was to be held at Fort Dix. Jim attributed Diana’s involvement partially to her radical professors, partially to her own decision to embrace terrorism but mostly to the friend of Senator Obama, William Ayers, who was the boyfriend of Diana, and who got her involved with the weathermen. Other than feeling sorrow for the loss of Jim, I didn’t think much about it until years later when I read this story in the New York Times on September 11, 2001. ”I don’t regret setting bombs,” Bill Ayers said. ”I feel we didn’t do enough.” Mr. Ayers, who spent the 1970’s as a fugitive in the Weather Underground, was sitting in the kitchen of his big turn-of-the-19th-century stone house in the Hyde Park district of Chicago. ”
Since that terrible day I have remembered the name of William Ayers and his connection to Dwight.