The year was 1943, and I was part of a bombing squadron that had already lost over 60 bombers in World War II. With 10 crew members per bomber, that is over 600 airmen lost. This day I went up in my bomber and sometime during the mission we collided in mid-air with another plane, knocking the tail section off of our plane. The collision caused our plane to turn upside down and start barrel rolling toward the ground. I was in the back and I had to pull a string to release the flight suit and allow me to move. I pulled once and it didn't release, I pulled twice nothing and I began to feel like that was it, I was a goner for sure. Then I pulled a third time and the flight suit released and I was free. With my parachute I dove toward the large hole in the back of the plane where to this day I don't know how I missed all the scrap metal that was sticking out. I parachuted safely to the ground. I lost a leg that day, but my crew mates lost much much more. I was the only survivor. I am a WWII veteran.
That was the first story I heard as I walked around the Veteran's day celebration of 2009. I was there to take pictures, but I left with many stories from the Veteran's that were lining the grass with their wheelchairs watching the celebration. The picture to the left is a picture of the Veteran that shared this story with me. Here are a few more pictures from the day's events.
To see all the pictures of the day - click here