Today was a different day. DH and I went to an Air Show at a small
regional airport. It is also a WWII weekend. Both reenactors are there
along with people trying to sell all sorts of stuff including 'celebrities'
I need to back up a bit in history. All my life I have enjoyed one
particular uncle mainly because he was more personable and we spent more
time with that branch of the family. Turn the clock ahead a few decades
and the gift of a book was given to my mothers' second husband. It was "Band
of Brothers", about the 101st Airborne 'Easy' company. My mom points out
the the man on the end of the picture on the cover was uncle Forrest.
I never knew he was in the war but now somewhat famous??!! All those years
and I never heard a thing! Today he was at that air show and he and two
others were to give a little talk about their actions on D-Day and beyond.
Unfortunately we ran too late getting there and missed it but I did get a
few minutes to talk to him here and there during the day.
Many planes were sent up during the day and some simulated fighter
manouvers. It came to me on several occasions throughout the day how
difficult and dangerous and often fatal the engagements our service members
face. The planes themselves could even be a danger. Looking at the cramped
spaces on the planes, open wiring and connections and almost impossible
missions these people are asked to perform is mind boggling and humbling
and made me very thankful.
We always need to remember the 'watchman on the wall'.
I also met, shook hands and expressed admiration for Col. Gale Halverson.
He was one of the Berlin Airlift pilots who manouvered his plane down a very
trecherous corridor to land at the Berlin airport to bring in food for the
isolated free Berlin inhabitants. He also started, what turned out to be a
large program, of dropping candy from his plane over Russian occupied
Germany. He was a gregorious man and humble about his activities. It was
quite apparent that it meant so much to him to be able to give a gift to
On our way out we approached a very old man but still with the program from
what we could see and my hubby said something like 'look, some 80 yr olds
can still fit in their uniforms'. I turned to look and there in full dress
whites sat a German Luftwaffe (sp?) officer definitely with the program.
After a second I took a page from my near fearless hubbys' book and just
went right over and said hello. He, very engagingly, stood up, shook my
hand, introduced himself and I did the same along with hubby. We engaged in
a few minutes of pleasant chatter, some of it a *very* short explanation of
his wartime activities including being one of 1% of those Russian gulag POWs
who managed to live to make it home. This man could have been one of the
German pilots who could have been in the right place to shoot down my uncles
Life can be very strange, intriguing, paradoxical and great.
I'm glad I got to meet those men.
Sorry to be so long but I just had to get this out. It was a wonderful
AK in PA
- posted 13 years ago