Saturday, July 02, 2005

Fourth of July Tribute

Paine Field, an airport where the new Boeing planes are contructed and tested, is five minutes from my house. Sea-Tac is becoming busier by the minute and some folks believe Paine Field should be used for commercial flights. Needless to say, not one person in Mukilteo, South Everett or Edmonds is in favor of this possible proposal. At the moment, a new tourism center is being created for exploration of Boeing and the history of flight. A couple of days ago, a World War II B-17 bomber and a B-24 bomber were on display and in my opinion, this is a wonderful use of Paine field. My Dad was a bombardier in WW2 on a B-17. On August 5, 1944, the Nazi's shot my Dad's B-17 out of the sky over the North Sea. He survived (obviously, because I exist) but spent the following nine months in a Nazi prison camp, (Sagan) Stalag III. While in prison camp he kept a diary and he wrote a poem about that fateful day. So, here it is interspersed with the recent photos from Paine Field.

The Long Last Mission

From America to England but never too fast,
To fly our combat missions not knowing which was last.

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Lucas (the same age his grandfather was) and Kaley

In battle formation we crossed the line,
On Aug. 5th for the 31st time.
It was clear and sunny as we commenced to attack,
And were well received in response by flak.
The shells burst here and shells burst there,
It seemed like schrapnell was everywhere.

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Our Navigator called but received the worst,
By losing his life with the closest burst.
The pilot called for a course back home,
The Bombardier answered he was alone.

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Nose cone where Dad and the Navigator were perched

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But to directions given we recrossed the line,
When No. 3 engine began to whine.
We're over the North Sea our position plotted,
Frisian Island's ahead, the coast behind & Heligioland spotted.
At 2 min. past one we received word of a flame.
The bail out bells were ringing loud,
Its nine members of the crew hit the shrouds,
Its hard to explain and tell it right,
The calmness that prevailed our recent plight.
But descend we did and all too fast,
For our trip to water was very soon past.
A boat soon ended our tale of woe,
Only to be renewed when we were able to know.
The Co-Pilot and Engineer were not to be found,
While radioman and Gunner were also drowned.
With various moves from place to place,
I must admit we were short of space.
For patience was tried & say what you can,
From Wilhelshaven to Frankfort & on to Sagan.
We have moved our luggage in various ways,
Marching from Sagan to Spremburg in 4 tedious days.
At Nurnburg we stand & far from alone,
5,000 others all waiting to go home.
We will finish this mission the last so long,
To God's country "America" where we belong.

Lt. Lane

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God Bless all of our veterans of War.