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View Diary: Paul Tibbets - Dead (96 comments)

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  •  I met Tibbets... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RubDMC, lcork, Foxwizard

    ...once, briefly, in 2003.  At a trade show, he was autographing his book, "Enola Gay."  I bought the book and got the autograph.

    I also thanked him for doing his duty as a soldier in a time of war, telling him I probably wouldn't be here if wasn't for his efforts.

    You see, my father enlisted in the Marines, fresh out of high school, in early 1942.  He served on Guadalcanal in 1943-44, then rotated back to San Diego where his unit was trained on a new aircraft.  He and my mother wed a few days after D-Day, in June 1944.

    In early August 1945, my father was aboard the escort carrier Salerno Bay, headed for Okinawa and the invasion of Japan.  Thankfully, Paul Tibbets' successful mission meant my father -- and yours or your grandfather -- didn't have to face Japan in that final assault.

    Today, my father's ashes rest at Arlington Cemetery outside Washington.

    Those of us who were not yet born do not understand the deprivations and hopelessness of the U.S. in the timeframe shortly after Pearl Harbor.  We also cannot comprehend the sacrifice citizens made -- in labor, treasure and blood -- during WWII.  Gas rationing, no meat, hoarding scrap metal, no new cars being built, friends and families living together because no one could afford housing.  (Of course, this was the tail-end of the Great Depression.)  These were just some of the realities at that time.

    Boys and young men forfeited their lives, never to grow old and know that for which they really were fighting for.  Just as they are today, for much less-worthy causes.

    We can argue the value and propriety of Hiroshima and Nagasaki the rest of our lives.  Nothing will change the fact that Tibbets and his bomber squadron brought that war to a much quicker ending than otherwise might have been the case.  He and his crews saved tens of thousands of lives on both sides -- perhaps more than a million.  We'll never know.

    And that's my bottom line.  Without Tibbets and his squadron's missions, things might have turned out much differently.  He was the right guy at the right time.  Thankfully, he was there and did his duty to the best of his ability.  Without him, none of us might be around to bitch about it.

    DCr

    "Someday this war's gonna end..." -- Robert Duvall as Lt. Col. Kilgore in "Apocalypse Now."

    by DCrefugee on Thu Nov 01, 2007 at 07:17:04 PM PDT

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