Saturday, May 16, 2009

Salute to the Greatest Generation

Some local organization has sponsored a B-25 bomber to fly in to town. It's been making occasional loops over the city today. I was out mowing the lawn during on fly-over, so I stopped and watched it for awhile. I was amazed at how big, slow, and noisy it was.

I tried to imagine going to war in an aircraft like that. They would spend the better part of a day on missions in amazing cold and thin oxygen--they often had to use breather masks. Their planes were easy targets for any fighters that came along. Hours of boring flight interspersed with moments of intense anxiety and terror for a minute or two aiming and dropping bombs. And then turn around and do it all again on the way out.

And they did this over and over again.

I pretty much believe we have forgotten just what an amazing thing they did in turning back such an enormous global threat through sheer willpower with weapons largely primitive by today's standards. I wonder if we have that fortitude and clarity of purpose today.

Those who lived it won't try to remind us of what they did. They're largely quiet about it. I think they discovered early on that the only ones who even could understand it were the others who went through it too. Everyone do you describe something like that?

It's our loss, because we're going to need what they had someday. I hope we can still find it.


Dan Stratton said...

I saw a bomber flying around on Sunday, but it wasn't a B-25. It looked like a B-17. B-25s had two engines and dual tail fin. Agree with everything else you said.

Thom said...

You are correct, of course. I get those two and the B-29 mixed up. When I was ten I never would have made such an obvious mistake.

Ronaldo said...

And this from a guy on whose computer I spent countless hours playing a B-17 simulator. Tsk tsk... ;) Maybe if I'd let you play your own game more often...

Thom said...

[landocalrissian] Alright-alright-alright! [/landocalrissian]

Next time I'll stick to "Oooh, look! Big, shiny airplane!"

Ronaldo said...

Hey, what are brothers for if not to give you endless amounts of heck when you make one tiny little error?