Bill W. Day Commentary June 2, 2002

E. DORSET VT- Sunday, June 2, 2002 dawned as many a late spring day up here in New England.  An overnight rainfall left the air feeling fresh and pure, a light breeze chased the last of the overnight clouds away. We camped at Emerald Lake State Park as we have for several years now. 

Knowing we gazed out over the lake that Bill and Lois had boated upon made my mind wander a bit. Had they stood on this very beach decades ago, the bright promise of a long life together ahead of them, neither knowing of the twists and turns their lives would take? 

The Graveside Service started again this year promptly at 1PM with the Vermont hillside becoming a veritable sea of faces.  Children laughed and ran around the edge of the crowd. A couple of tour busses joining the line of cars that stretched as long as the eye could see along Route 7A. 

I wondered what passers-by must think as they drove by this strangely assorted crowd.  Younger people in the spring time of their lives, older members and the ever present line of Harleys parked near the gate. Our Book calls us "people who would normally not mix". Here was a living example of this.  All of us brought together, having survived the lash of alcoholism,
paying tribute to a man touched by the hand of God. A man who's actions started in motion a movement that continues to this day to save lives and families. 

The faces at the service were amazing in their diversity of emotion.  There was much laughter.  There were also many tears.  Tears, I suspect of gratitude. Keeping the tradition of years past, there were a couple of readings, followed the sharing of several members.  The service concluded with the reading of the 11th Step Prayer and closed in traditional AA style with the circle of almost 500 people encompassing the entire Vermont hillside. 

The Bill W. Day celebration continued with the Open Speaker meeting on the lawn the separates the Wilson House from the Griffith house. This years speaker, Ralph P., a member of AA for over half a century, spoke for nearly an hour.  Tales of the early challenges faced by AA as well as his experiences working with Bill at the Alcoholic Foundation office filled the air.  The portrayal of the Bill he knew was that of a man driven to help make AA what it is today, a man of wisdom and foresight, yet very much a human with flaws and imperfections.  How exciting, I thought, it must have been to live through so much AA history. 

The three hour trip home Sunday afternoon gave me some time to reflect about the day.  With gratitude, I thanked God that AA was there to help this drunk.  I also found myself thinking about how grateful I was that AA was well established when God led me through the doors of the halls to a life I never could have imagined. 

Dr. Bob said, in part, that he helped drunks "because in so doing I am paying my debt to the man who took time to pass it on to me." 

                               I only hope I can do the same...

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