The first time I drove into St. Louis ... two things made a permanent impression on me.
It was 1975, and I was driving up to begin my job with Channel 4. I rounded that curve on Interstate 55, and in the distance, I saw sunlight bouncing off the Arch. I rounded another curve and saw the Anheuser Busch brewery.
Within days I made certain that I went up in the Arch and took the brewery tour. I didn't want to be one of those who never really visited what was in their own backyard.
Over the years, I've become friends with many AB employees ... from the suites at Pestalozi to the guys on the trucks. Some I met at society functions, and others while joining a bunch of Harley riders. Each and everyone .... a proud employee of Anheuser Busch.
Now, This American Icon is being sold to a foreign country. Many are asking ... in frustration, tears and even anger .. how can this happen?
The answer is on the financial sheet. Yes, money ... is the final line .. not loyalty nor nationalism.
From the beginning, local government leaders were fighting against the deal, but now, they realize ... if we can't defeat the deal .. we must find ways to make it work for us.
In-Bev CEO Carlos Brito is trying to reassure St. Louisans .. saying things like: the plan is ... but many have heard that phrase right before they felt the blade on the back of their neck. Just ask some former American Airline employees about that feeling.
Brito has said that he recognizes the special place that AB holds for the nation ... for St. Louis.
Many against this sale might respond: Okay, so, you recognize the special place ... but what will you do to protect it .. preserve it .. .honor it?
Early in my St. Louis news career, newsroom humor might include the phrase: Yeah, we'll do that .. the day the Arch falls .. or Anheuser Busch is sold to foreigners.
Well, that latter .. unthinkable event ... is happening.
Maybe we should keep a closer eye on the Arch.