The Ghost in the Machine

Lou Lopez, Coordinator of Old Fort MacArthur Days

Lou Lopez, Coordinator of Old Fort MacArthur Days

Everyone liked making fun of him, but he ran a tight ship at Old Fort MacArthur Days. Lou Lopez had been in charge of the event since 2000, and Martine and I were expecting to see him again yesterday behind the microphone trying to keep the straggling event together.

Only, we did not see him this time. Apparently, last month, he—such a lover of history—had himself passed into history on the morning of June 18.

I did not know him personally, and he certainly did not know Martine or me. He was one of those little guys that people joked about, but always with a feeling of affection and grudging respect.

It became evident yesterday at the parade of military units, always a feature at these events. It always began with the ancient Roman legions and ended with units from the Korean and Vietnamese conflicts. The public address system was haunted. It was used to conveying Lou Lopez’s voice over the air, but didn’t quite acknowledge his replacement.

In the meantime, Lou, in his traditional garb of the U.S. forces in Cuba, was off somewhere charging up San Juan Hill with Teddy Roosevelt.