Dr. George Sweeting wrote in Special Sermons for Special Days: "Several
years ago our family visited Niagara Falls. It was spring, and ice was rushing down the
river. As I viewed the large blocks of ice flowing toward the falls, I could see that
there were carcasses of dead fish embedded in the ice. Gulls by the score were riding down
the river feeding on the fish. As they came to the brink of the falls, their wings would
go out, and they would escape from the falls.
"I watched one gull which seemed to delay and wondered when it would leave. It was
engrossed in the carcass of a fish, and when it finally came to the brink of the falls,
out went its powerful wings. The bird flapped and flapped and even lifed the ice out of
the water, and I thought it would escape. But it had delayed too long so that its claws
had frozen into the ice. The weight of the ice was too great, and the gull plunged into
The finest attractions of this world become deadly when we become overly attached to
them. They may take us to our destruction if we cannot give them up. And as Sweeting
observed, "Oh, the danger of delay!"
Dr. George Sweeting, Special Sermons for Special
The cost of not putting a finger in the dike: For most of the last decade, Chicagoans
who worked in the Loop, the booming downtown business district, could easily ignore the
city's budget crisis; Washington's cutback of aid to cities didn't seem to hurt business.
Last week, they learned one price of neglecting the underpinnings of all that economic
growth. A quarter billion gallons of murky Chicago River water gushed into a 60-mile
network of turn-of-the-century freight tunnels under the Loop and brought nearly all
businesses to a soggy halt. It turned out that a top city official had known about the
leak, but, acting for a cash-strapped government, had delayed repairs costing only about
$50,000. The final cost of the damage could run higher than $1 billion.
U.S. News &
World Report, April 27, 1992.
The lesson of Munich was: When it is necessary to confront an expansionist dictator,
sooner is better than later. As Douglas MacArthur said, in war all tragedy can be
summarized in two words, "too late." Too late perceiving, too late preparing for
George Will, August 5, 1990.