Letters to the Editor

Boeing’s war planes symbolic of freedom | Letters | June 5

My hat is off to Tom Tyner for his Memorial Day column, acknowledging and honoring Americans who gave their lives so that we who live in America can live free.

For most of history, in most of the world, individuals living in freedom have been and remain the exception, not the rule.

From the Lexington Green to beaches of Normandy to the mountains of Afghanistan, we owe our freedom to American soldiers, sailors, guardsmen, airmen and Marines. They have been and continue to be willing to stand in the gap between the bucolic pastures of American life and those who have come against this free nation for over 200 years.

This Memorial Day, the usual small crowd gathered at the Bainbridge Memorial at the High School to pay our respects to those from Bainbridge who gave their lives for our freedom.

In 2003, Colin Powell said the following: “We have gone forth from our shores repeatedly over the last hundred years and we’ve done this as recently as the last year in Afghanistan and put wonderful young men and women at risk, many of whom have lost their lives, and we have asked for nothing except enough ground to bury them in, and otherwise we have returned home to seek our own lives in peace, to live our own lives in peace.”

One note: the planes Mr. Tyner saw above Bainbridge were not B-52s, rather the B-17 “Liberty Belle,” recently restored to flight. The B-17 Flying Fortress won the air war in Europe, making daylight precision bombing possible.

The B-24 Liberator become the workhorse of the Pacific Theater, followed in 1944 by the B-29 Superfortress, which helped end WWII and bring freedom to the Pacific.

Unlike the thundering radial-engine powered bombers that preceded it, Boeing’s B-52 is a jet engine-powered bomber that made its first flight on April 15, 1952. Forty-four remain in active service today.

For those who missed the “Liberty Belle,” on June 19-21 the Collins Foundation will bring their famous B-17 “Nine O Nine” – along with a B-24 and P-51 Mustang – to Seattle’s Museum of Flight.

If you have not taken your kids to see these amazing aircraft, don’t miss it. You may be privileged to meet some of the men who flew these aircraft in combat, and thank them in person. It is a legacy worth remembering and passing on.

Phil McCrudden

Bainbridge Island

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