Thursday, July 30, 2009

Heroes Are People Too

I just returned from the big EAA Airventure Airshow and Convention in Oshkosh, WI. This is an annual trip for me, and I am always impressed by both the technology and the people. One of the best parts is that you get to have personal conversations with people who have been through ordeals you will probably (hopefully) never have to face. Last year I spoke briefly with Dick Cole, co-pilot with Jimmy Doolittle in the April 18, 1942 payback raid on Tokyo by sixteen B-25 bombers. This year I met Jeff Skiles, First Officer of US Airways Flight 1549 that made a safe emergency landing in New York's Hudson River. The common thread in my conversations with both of these heroes is that while talking with them, you feel as though you are talking with an old friend from down the street. They feel as though they were just doing their jobs, although doing them very well under very trying circumstances. There were a lot of other just plain folks there, too: the airmen and soldiers of World War II and all the subsequent wars. It is always a privilege to meet them and talk with them. They are heroes, although you'll probably never learn of their individual exploits. The nice thing about the Oshkosh Airshow is that you also meet a lot of young people who are growing up to appreciate aviation and the heroes that came before them and walk among them.

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