Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Observing Veterans Day with a WWII spitfire pilot and Roger Waters

This week, we will see signs acknowledging the military service of our colleagues, family, and friends. We will have coffee with them in the morning, meet with them throughout the day, and work with them tomorrow. As we do, let’s remember they have had a significant life experience the rest of us did not have. Today we set aside a few moments to honor them for it, and they let us. Most would rather the day go by without notice, but this one day, we get to recognize they have done something for us. Today, we get to remind ourselves to make their military experience worth it by earning it the rest of the year.

Two recent events reinforced the meaning of Veterans Day for me this year.

One was the Stand Up for Heroes concert last Wednesday at Madison Square Garden. The video below describes how a band of brothers came together to perform at the concert. The band members are Wounded Warriors, and they are led by Roger Waters of Pink Floyd. The band members talk about the impact music has on them and one, Marine Corporal Tim Donnelly, says, “I feel more whole now that I’ve ever been in my whole life.” He lost both legs and use of his arm in the recent war in Afghanistan.

The other event was not from the recent wars but from WWII.

Upon the death of his uncle, a man found two suitcases full of video shot by his uncle during WWII. His uncle was a flight surgeon who took more than 100 hours of film. As the man watched some of the film, he became curious about the people in the clips. He wondered if they had ever seen the film and if they would want to. One of the clips is of a pilot making an emergency landing of a spitfire.

The video below tells the story of the uncle and the pilot. The video shows Lt. John S. Blyth, a WWII recon mission pilot who flew unarmed and alone over Germany, seeing the film of his landing for the first time. The whole story is interesting, but seeing the pilot see his landing for the first time makes stories like this hit close to home.

On days like today, we often hear the phrase, “All gave some, and some gave all.” We work with people who gave some and know people who gave all. Today we honor all of them.