Saturday, May 27, 2006

Another Hero

At the same time my father was bombing Germany in a notoriously difficult aircraft, without fighter escort to protect him from enemy fire, my father-in-law was learning to arm the P-51 Mustang--a new, scrappy fighter with long-range capability that would single-handedly save countless lives and change the course of WWII.

My father-in-law was also stationed in England with the Mighty Eighth. During his tour he witnessed horrifying B-24 crashes. Heavily laden with bombs, the planes often floundered and exploded on takeoff. But he also witnessed the mass ascension of the Normandy Invasion fleet and said he'd never seen anything so magnificent.

A few years ago we took him to the WWII weekend in Reading. A beautifully restored P-51 Mustang was in attendance and he hadn't seen one in over 50 years. Although we'd been warned against touching the precious aircraft, we wanted a picture of him near it.

As we approached the Mustang, I told the owners who he was and what he had done during the war. They dropped everything they were doing, shook his hand and with a reverence that makes me cry just thinking about, honored him by asking if he'd like to stand on the wing.

They helped him onto the wing, and we took this picture. Later, my mother-in-law told us she'd never seen him so happy in his life. If his ear-to-ear grin the whole day was any indication, she was right.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Lyn Cash said...

How MARVELOUS! Great story!

May 28, 2006 6:51 PM  

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