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Rainstorms and tornadoes were racing across North Carolina yesterday afternoon, but after dinner Erin needed some quiet time to work on a project, so I took the girls for a drive to the Raleigh-Durham International Airport. RDU has a nice outdoor observation deck that looks onto the secondary runways used almost exclusively by American Airlines. Against a backdrop of dark blue rainclouds, we watched American’s Fokker jets land and take off. I held little Malia while Anna ran around, excited to see the sunset and the little Cessnas and the giant propeller displayed at the observatory.

I hope my daughters will remember last night – like I remember how my dad took me to the end of the runway at the airport in Phoenix. I recall watching Boeing 707s lumber into the sky, and when I looked up at my dad he was looking up at the planes.

I’m still looking up to my father. Today is his birthday, and I want him to know that.