A Memorial Day Memory

Today is for remembering our veterans. I doubt there’s anyone who doesn’t know at least one veteran. Most of my family members who have served are gone now, but I’m fortunate to live down the street from a WWII veteran.

I’ve mentioned my 90-year-old friend Agnes in previous posts. Her now 91-year-old husband Bill served proudly in WWII as a pilot. He has pictures and books about planes and even historical accounts of some of the sorties he flew, but what’s amazing about Bill is that he’ll talk about his experiences. I understand that many soldiers prefer not to relive the horrors of war. I feel pretty certain I wouldn’t want to talk about it. But Bill loves to tell his stories.

Some of the stories are innocuous, but others chill us to the bone. He tells of one mission when he and his buddy were in a dogfight. His friend saved Bill by shooting down an enemy plane. Bill watched his buddy’s plane disappear into the clouds–and never saw him again.

I can’t begin to recount the twists and turns of the battle that day, but in spite of his plane being hit, Bill made it back to the base. He had some trouble landing and when he got on the ground, he looked things over. The many-stranded cable connecting his rudder to his tail fin was down to ONE strand. The rest had been shot away. Without that cable and the control it gave him, he would have been hard pressed to fly much less land.

Bill always says “someone was looking out for me,” when he finishes the story. And Agnes allows that she’s glad someone was. And so am I.

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