Wednesday, September 20, 2006


[posted by Callimachus]

If this doesn't move you, you have icewater in your veins.

We have seen the same old warbird, every year, when it comes to the airshow near here, usually in late July. And it usually makes an overpass of our house during its flights. It's a sound you never hear anymore and you'll never forget. Sure, there are still propeller planes in the skies, but nothing with an engine that big. It growls like a Norse god trying to decide if he's pissed off or not.

You can hear one of them in the sky now, if you're lucky enough to live near an airport. Imagine hundreds of them in the air at once. Imagine what that sound meant to a boy in some English field in 1942, watching the crews head for the Channel to bomb Hitler. Imagine what it meant to the Japanese boy who saw the massive flyover the Americans made sure to show them coincidentally with the surrender in 1945, as a terminal exclamation point on the lesson in defeat.

I'm ambivalent about some of the missions they were sent on, but never about the men who flew them. Or about my fascination with the technology of their design and the manufacturing marvel that built them.

This summer, when they were here, my photographer son took some pictures. Here are a few of them. The last shows one of the old breed: