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Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Wing and a Prayer

A couple of weeks ago, I was flying into Daytona Beach. Actually it was during the Daytona 500, which everyone knows is a crazy time in Florida. I had cozied down for a smooth landing when I felt the plane slow, a little too slow for the experiences I’ve had on the numerous planes I’ve been on. You could smell the sweat of the nervous passengers in the air as we lingered in the clouds. Much to everyone’s amazement, the pilot’s voice boomed over the intercom. “Folks, you might notice we’ve slowed down a bit. Well, it’s to give way to an old plane. The B29 to be exact. There is only one flying B29 left. This plane was assembled from several abandoned Navy planes that were found in a desert out west. The historical significance of this plane should be honored by every American. Note when we land, the big “A” on the tail of the plane. This was the plane that dropped the Atom bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” Our plane went silent, all of us intent on the pilot’s words. “And folks, this plane holds a special meaning for me. My dad flew this plane.” A roar went up from the crowd on board, not unlike the roar of the crowd on the filled Daytona track below us when the winner rolls over the finish line. But this roar was all American. A plane full of strangers, faces pressed to the windows as the old plane rolled past , us as it taxied to a hanger, all of us feeling grateful for our nation’s military. Made it a pretty special flight.
On top of that, I was right in the middle of finishing a spectacular book by Kathryn Hildebrand called Unbroken. It is a story about World War II I would’ve never read had it not been for a recommendation from a friend. Thanks Randy!
I’m not a big war fan, but I will tell you this book was something! It was a riveting story based on the true story of Olympic track star Frank Zamperini. Very well written. Excellent use of prose and structure and a story that shows the resilience of man and the beauty of faith. I had just finished reading the section of how the prisoners of war looked to the sky to see the first ever B29 flying overheard, their hearts hoping against hope that they would be rescued, when our pilot came on to tell us about this historic plane.
It was a WoW moment that I will always remember. I hope you’ll join me in reading this very compelling story! You’ll be amazed and like me, might even come to love history!

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