Looking Back Into History

February 15, 2009

The old man with silver hair began his tale:

"My glider rocked behind the C47, as I looked out across the dark English Channel. Seeing nothing but the tracer rounds flying through the air searching for a target, I looked back in my memory to my training in the hot West Texas sun. It was a small "raggedy" air field in the middle of a dry pasture with nothing but dirt and yellow grass to look at. It was the perfect place for glider taining school; the army could not have picked a better spot. With nothing but flat land as far as a soldier could see, it was not possible to ask for a better landing zone. The only thing we were told to avoid were those "precious cotton fields". The pure white, abundant cotton, captured the hearts of the farmers more than the war; however, its beauty was lost on me. All I saw were fields of wasted lands and dry useless balls of fluff. And then there was the wind. I had never seen a brown sky before I came to Lubbock. I was shocked at how the locals were not even fazed by the violence of the howling winds filled with dirt.

The glider rocked as the tow rope was released and I was quickly brought back to reality. With the enchanting spell of my early training broken (memories vanished), I resolutely braced myself against the screaming bullets whizzing past. The fields of Normandy were illuminated by the artillery and the burning planes. The "Invasion of Europe had begun".

The tour group at the Silent Wings Museum appeared to have taken in every word the old vetran had said. In silence they moved on to the next exhibit. The guide smiled knowing history was being kept alive for the next generation. His history. America's
richness and diversity.

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