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Bloviating Zeppelin: Let Me Tell You About This Photograph:

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Let Me Tell You About This Photograph:

On May 14th of 2002 my mother died at the age of 80. She lived to enjoy her 60th anniversary at the Lemon Grass restaurant on Fulton Avenue with all of her friends.

On the day directly following her burial, my two brothers and I attended static displays of two WWII aircraft at McClellan AFB: The Dragon And His Tail (a B-24 Liberator) and the Nine O Nine, a B-17 Flying Fortress.

My father declined to attend.

The above is a photo I had included in my 2010 Memorial Day post.

Whilst I shot numerous photographs of both planes back in 2002, this elderly man sat down midway in the fuselage of the B-17. He sighed. I walked past him.

He was the age of my father. His 80s.

"Right here," he said to himself as I passed. "I could be radio or waist or upper."

I didn't exactly know what he wanted. He seemed to want his privacy.

He wanted silence. That is what I gave him.

I don't know who he was or what he did.

Here he is. One man. Of The Greatest Generation.

Memories cascaded.

I left him alone with his memories. He deserved that at the least.

To you he is a fleeting photograph. To me he is like my father.

Further, regarding my Memorial Day post, I received this e-mail from a friend:

Your blog yesterday was so wonderful. The photos, poem and expressions, really touched me. I woke up yesterday thinking about the price of freedom - I was praying for our deployed troops, their families and the families of those who have lost their warriors.

I was reflecting on my Granddad’s service in WWII and how many soldiers, past and present, have put it all on the line so that I have the freedom to pray, when and where I want to, and to do all of the other things that freedom in this great nation affords.

When I came across your blog, I had to share it with my kids to show them the meaning of Memorial Day. All of the photos are so moving. The elderly man in the wheelchair (only one standing when Colors are presented during the parade) really struck a chord with my mother – she remembers a day when everyone would have stood, without question.

I was especially emotional when looking at the photo of the military wife lying across of the grave of her husband – a picture of the true cost of freedom.

I just wanted to let you know that you helped me teach a valuable lesson to my children that I pray they never forget. Thanks.

Thank you ever so much. I cannot repay your appreciation which, frankly, does not include me but should, truly, encapsulate our American warriors. I am mostly at a loss for words. I can only say that, in my opinion, you point your children in the proper direction for America's future.



Blogger Greybeard said...

You may be interested to read,
this one, and
this post.

I'm sure you were humbled as I was, thinking of all the memories these airplanes could whisper to us.
I consider myself very fortunate to have had the experience I had, and hope one day to fulfill the dream of flying the other airplane to compare them.

Mon Jun 07, 10:20:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Old NFO said...

Great post BZ- And yes, I'll bet he was reliving those memories... Good and bad... Thanks for the post and sharing that story.

Mon Jun 07, 11:06:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Z said...

beautiful post again, BZ...imagine what that man was thinking, remembering...we owe him EVERYTHING. I wonder what he thinks today of what's going on in America.

Tue Jun 08, 03:20:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Greybeard: thank you, and I'll hit those links sir.

NFO: I thought his story needed to be told. But I didn't want to disturb him.

Z, thank you so kindly. We DO owe him everything.


Tue Jun 08, 05:49:00 AM PDT  
Blogger mrchuck said...

When I saw this old guy, it looked like he was back in his plane going on another mission.
I could feel the engines vibrations, just as strong as he did.
As he was sitting on the edge of the seat,he was ready to jump up into action, at any gunner station.
That's how the photo affected me.

Tue Jun 08, 07:36:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

MrChuck: wow. Thank you kindly for the insight.


Tue Jun 08, 11:17:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Greybeard: read the posts; is that true, that Dragon is THE last flying B-24??


Tue Jun 08, 11:23:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Greybeard said...

Either the last, or one of two, BZ.
I have heard rumors of one other B24 possibly flying fire contracts in South America somewhere.
They made 10,000 of the things, and now "Dragon" is the only one flying in the U.S..
I was glad to get the chance to listen to those big Pratt and Whitneys singing from inside the fuselage!

Tue Jun 08, 07:24:00 PM PDT  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

very nice photo. Outstanding email!

Wed Jun 09, 03:07:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Greybeard: that duo has been to Sacramento before; I suspect the Collings Foundation will bring them back. If they do, I think I'll break with multiple hundreds of dollars, take my camera, and take the Last Ride, sir.

Word: thank you most kindly.


Wed Jun 09, 03:28:00 PM PDT  

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