The Heat of an Arizona Sky

Way, way back in the late, late 70's I had the privilege of looking through a chain length fence into the Air Force Graveyard at Davis-Monthan AFB. I remember to this day how sad my heart became as I looked at rows of hundreds and thousands of decommissioned aircraft, and it felt a bit sadder when I saw the B-29's. You see, along with the faster flying ones, the heavier ones, this plane held a fascination for me. The Enola Gay was, is, a B-29. A B-29 that flew us into history. A flight that changed the world. My world. Your world.

The one I had traveled to Tucsan, Arizona with loved airplanes. All airplanes. I learned a lot that trip. About planes, about him. There was a softness in his voice when he told me bits and pieces about the ones we were peering at through the fencing, taking photos of. How they were used in battle, for rescue attempts, for decoys. In wars, in battles, on foreign fields, over vast oceans and seas. I couldn't help but think of the ones that didn't return to families, to life. Those that returned, but not to a life they knew. Or wanted. And those that returned forever changed in spirit and in heart. A life that had dreams and trigger moments to remind them of time spent within the wells of the planes I now studied. We found ourselves whispering, as if we were in a sacred place. A place that demanded our respect for those that flew them, that flew in them, that had people who loved them, missed them, prayed for them. We wandered outside, looking at what we could, for what seemed hours. I'm sure it was.

Because he knew my feelings for the B-29, feelings he shared himself, he found them for us. Showed me how to stand with one B-29 in sight and note how, with such precision, the others were lined up beside her. Then to move to another spot outside the fence and look down the line, and not see anything but the one in front. I was impressed. Someone cared.

There were so many planes. The thought crossed my mind there were too many. Did it really take hundreds of B-29's to protect us? And what of all the others? Each separated, yet together with like ones. So many. Each held her own thoughts. Her own history. So many planes. The grasses outside the fences were a bit tall, a bit too scrubby for me. But the field inside was pristine. Someone cared.

I'll never forget that trip.

Because I happened to see a photo on the news tonight I Googled and searched for that airfield of my memories. I have no idea why it was there or the news connected with it. I simply looked over my laptop, saw the photo, and was thrown back into the heat of Arizona on a sizzling summer day. And so I came here with a reprint of that photo, not sure what I wanted to say. The photo took me to a website, which led to another site, and another. What I learned amazed me and touched me. And I'm thankful. For many reasons.

At another time, I'd love to tell you of my trip to an airshow. Another place in the sun, another trip with my lover of planes. Where I met the man who piloted the Enola Gay, my Enola Gay. A humble man, lover of family, of his country. A man with no regrets yet sad in his own way with memories of his own.

Thank you, my beautiful Lord, for giving us memories. Even when those memories bring bits and pieces of sadness. For even with the sadness, there are memories of love, of laughter, of goodness. And I shall always be thankful. Always.
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I encourage you to click on the photo, click on the highlighted words, read of this special place in the hearts of many. You'll learn something good, something new. And that is a wonderful thing. Click here, or here, or here to learn more about the Enola Gay. And her pilot.

Oh by the way, the Enola Gay holds another story. Where it all began for me. You see, I am kin to a crew member of The Indianapolis. A young man I heard talked of all my youthful years. A young man my great-aunt Hattie loved very much. And The Indianapolis ~ a cruiser that delivered a 15-foot wooden crate to a destination. A crate which held Little Boy, an atomic bomb. Having delivered the load, she departed under orders of complete radio silence. But that did not stop the Japanese. Or the sharks. But that's another story, and I'm tired. I think I shall go to bed now. Tonight I think I shall pray for, well, for all of the ones left behind. And I shall thank God for those that gave their life, and for the man that took me to see those B-29's.

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~ from The Letter Writer ~

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