40 Years in America

Reflections on Danbury

Thomas J. Ward

Father and Mother have understood that God and Satan especially watch the heart with which they or any central figure respond to difficult circumstances, including the faithlessness of us, their followers. True Parents have served as a model of how to digest adversity. Some of us recall the morning of July 20, 1984, the day of Fatherís incarceration in Danbury. There inside his residence in East Garden, Father comforted a handful of us and told us not to worry because something very good was going to come out of his incarceration.

A few months later, I had the opportunity to visit True Parents in Danbury Federal Prison together with Dr. Bo Hi Pak, Ambassador Maurice Robert of France and Ambassador Jose Maria Chaves. There in the prison Father spoke to the two ambassadors about some of his remarkable future plans for Africa and South America, which included the creation of a university. He spoke of how Europe had a special responsibility to assist Africa in its development and of how the United States had a similar responsibility towards Latin America. In the midst of the two-hour exchange Father never said a word about his imprisonment. He focused on inspiring and igniting us with a plausible vision of the future. Mother warmly served all of us refreshments from the vending machines in the humble visiting room. It was as if we were in East Garden rather than in the dour circumstances of Danbury Federal Prison. After bidding our farewells to Father and Mother, I accompanied Ambassadors Robert and Chaves down the hill from the prison complex to the parking lot. Deeply impressed by the encounter, Ambassador Chaves turned to me and said, "Reverend Moon may be in prison, but he is a free man."

I remember coming to East Garden one morning a month or so prior to Fatherís imprisonment with Dr. Pak and a politician who had ties with our Church. Father was ecstatic with the gentleman, explaining to him all the wonderful things that he could do in his role as an elected official. Suddenly I reflected, "Here is Father inspiring this man about how wonderful his future is and yet Father himself will face such a miserable circumstance when he is imprisoned in just a few weeks." Suddenly I broke into an uncontrollable flow of tears and Father turned to comfort me, softly saying, "Heh, heh, hehÖ."

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