Some of us were reminiscing what we were doing that morning 20 years ago, and one Lexican had a particular poignant memory. With his permission to post this, here it is.
“On this date, 20 years ago I was a young captain on the MD-80. We got up early for a trip from Houston to Tampa. It was my leg and the second day of a four day trip. It was a beautiful bright morning and clear skies at both Houston and Tampa airports. A great day to fly and what I thought at the time would be an easy leg. Like the fateful United and American flights that would go down that day, and were departing at about the same time as I was, the last thought on my mind was a hijacking. There were no warnings. No memos to keep a “heads up”. Nothing.
As I was reposting so much of Carroll “Lex” LeFon’s work, I came to realize how timeless some of it is. Even though he has been gone from us for 9 years, he can still be in the national conversation. As I was reposting his work, I thought it would be nice to time a few of his posts for the days long ago that he originally posted.
This is one of them that just popped up today, 14 years ago from the time he originally sent it to the blogosphere. I must have told WordPress a few years ago to (re)post it today.
I had forgotten about it.
I was just re-reading it, and felt that he could have written this today.
Think this polarization is something new to this country?
Two of the country’s founders, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, one an aristocratic Virginian and the other an established New Englander, had different ideas as to the direction the country should take.
Posted by lex, on July 4th, 2007 Three holidays define the summer months, with Memorial Day at the beginning, Labor Day at the end and the Fourth of July angling towards the middle. The outer markers “belong” in some sense to constituencies of their own, but the Fourth belongs to all of us.
And if we are today deeply divided, dissatisfied even in unprecedented prosperity and always eager to find fault, we can at least take some solace in the fact that it was ever thus: Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were co-signers of the Declaration of Independence, both sat on the committee that drafted it and Jefferson himself it was who turned the document of American independence from a laundry list of imperial grievances into a work both eloquent and startlingly radical:
They are all probably long gone now. It is funny, as a 23 year old stationed in Germany, I considered them at the time, old. And now I am far older – by at least 20 years – than them.
When I wasn’t under the ground in the NATO bunker in Germany, I was more often than not in the photo lab by my barracks. The man who ran it, Willi Schubert, became a friend. Besides teaching me the art of developing and printing my film – and Agfa 8×10 paper was $2! – we talked a lot. If you look at my post Europe in B & W, that was just a small portion of those 8 x 10 prints.
As I have mentioned before, in my travels I remember the people I have met along the way as much as the sights.
This is a fascinating 2 part interview with Kermit Weeks. Tibbets tells the story of the B-29 development and why Boeing wanted to cancel the development. Tibbets was instrumental in helping Boeing finish the development.
He talks about the preparation of the mission, and what happened during that mission.
Courtesy of occasional reader Zane, the iconography of Iwo Jima, with an essay on Joe Rosenthal’s tribulations. His photograph of the second raising of the American flag atop Suribachi guaranteed the existence of the Corps for the next 500 years, according to Navy Secretary James Forrestal.
I’ve walked those beaches and climbed that hill, and was in awe for every moment of it. And I wasn’t carrying a ten pound rifle, nor a forty pound ruck. And no one was shooting down on me.
If that’s a little too distant, these images * from the war in Iraq may evoke memories of a more innocent time, while graphically depicting our gradual loss of innocence over the years.
I don’t know that we come out of Iraq with any guarantees at all.
Two very different fights. Two very different endings.
** 02-15-21 Lex’s original link had the text in the Wayback Machine but not the images. I found another link but sadly it has but one image . Lex has severalposts on his time at Iwo Jima. – Ed.
I was only 8 years old when it happened, so I didn’t remember the anniversary. I was just driving home listening to SiriusXM’s 50s on 5 listening to the host interviewing people who were there.
On a cold, windy and snowy evening on February 3, 1959, 3 young men, whose music is still appreciated 62 years later, died 10 minutes after takeoff, when their chartered Beechcraft Bonanza crashed on an Iowa field.
For those who have even a modicum of WW2 history knowledge, the first thought that came to your mind was most likely Claus von Stauffenberg.
But there was apparently another some years earlier who, but for some fog, would have been successful.
That’s why I enjoy reading the BBC History Magazine. Many of their articles bring out either a revelation of daily life in the ancient times (for example in this issue, Vol 21, Nbr 13, life in the Roman Army for those who were Centurions (who commanded 80 men) and below), to obscure moments and figures in history.
I’m watching a wonderfully produced program on YouTube on the Memphis Belle. Beautifully made because it goes from the restoration crew at Wright-Patterson doing the restoration, telling you how they refabricated parts, to voices of the now-gone crew talking about certain missions, to general information on her missions first to France, then Germany.
The Belle was famous – became an iconic piece of American history, for finishing 25 missions and boosting the morale of a war-weary American public.
Among the things I learned during her 6 month combat tour was that 10 engines were replaced, major wing parts, and the vertical stabilizer.
That a flight crew had only a 28% chance of surviving though the magic 25 combat missions and the ticket home.
How A-List Hollywood Director William Wyler, in Europe as an Army Major, picked the Belle as the B-17 he would use to document the war.
How every day in the War, the Pentagon sent 297 telegrams to the families of the 8th AAF crewmen giving them the worst news.