An Experience To Recall
(This 1967 true story is of an experience of a young 12-year-old lad in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. It is about the vivid memory of a privately rebuilt P-51 Mustang from WWII and its famous owner/pilot.)
In the morning sun, I could not believe my eyes. There, in our little airport, sat a majestic P-51.
They said it had flown in during the night from some U.S. Airport, on its way to an air show. The pilot had been tired, so he just happened to choose Kingston for his stop over. It was to take to the air very soon.
I marveled at the size of the plane, dwarfing the Pipers and Canucks tied down by her. It was much larger than in the movies. She glistened in the sun like a bulwark of security from days gone by.
The pilot arrived by cab, paid the driver, and then stepped into the pilot's lounge. He was an older man; his wavy hair was gray and tossed. It looked like it might have been combed, say, around the turn of the century. His flight jacket was checked, creased and worn - it smelled old and genuine. Old Glory was prominently sewn to its shoulders. He projected a quiet air of proficiency and pride devoid of arrogance. He filed a quick flight plan to Montreal ("Expo-67 Air Show") then walked across the tarmac.
After taking several minutes to perform his walk-around check, the tall, lanky man returned to the flight lounge to ask if anyone would be available to stand by with fire extinguishers while he "flashed the old bird up, just to be safe." Though only 12 at the time I was allowed to stand by with an extinguisher after brief instruction on its use -- "If you see a fire, point, then pull this lever!", he said. (I later became a firefighter, but that's another story.) The air around the exhaust manifolds shimmered like a mirror from fuel fumes as the huge prop started to rotate. One manifold, then another, and yet another barked -- I stepped back with the others. In moments the Packard -built Merlin engine came to life with a thunderous roar. Blue flames knifed from her manifolds with an arrogant snarl.
I looked at the others' faces; there was no concern. I lowered the bell of my extinguisher. One of the guys signaled to walk back to the lounge. We did. Several minutes later we could hear the pilot doing his pre-flight run-up. He'd taxied to the end of runway 19, out of sight. All went quiet for several seconds. We ran to the second story deck to see if we could catch a glimpse of the P-51 as she started down the runway. We could not. There we stood, eyes fixed to a spot half way down 19. Then a roar ripped across the field, much louder than before. Like a furious hell spawn set loose -- something mighty this way was coming. "Listen to that thing!" said the controller.
In seconds the Mustang burst into our line of sight. It's tail was already off the runway and it was moving faster than anything I'd ever seen by that point on 19. Two-thirds the way down 19 the Mustang was airborne with her gear going up. The prop tips were supersonic. We clasped our ears as the Mustang climbed hellishly fast into the circuit to be eaten up by the dog-day haze. We stood for a few moments, in stunned silence, trying to digest what we'd just seen.
The radio controller rushed by me to the radio. "Kingston tower calling Mustang?" He looked back to us as he waited for an acknowledgment. The radio crackled, "Go ahead, Kingston." "Roger, Mustang. Kingston tower would like to advise the circuit is clear for a low level pass." I stood in shock because the controller had just, more or less, asked the pilot to return for an impromptu air show! The controller looked at us. "Well, What?" He asked. "I can't let that guy go without asking. I couldn't forgive myself!" The radio crackled once again, "Kingston, do I have permission for a low level pass, east to west, across the field?" "Roger, Mustang, the circuit is clear for an east to west pass." "Roger, Kingston, I'm coming out of 3,000 feet, stand by."
We rushed back onto the second-story deck, eyes fixed toward the eastern haze. The sound was subtle at first, a high-pitched whine, a muffled screech, a distant scream. Moments later the P-51 burst through the haze. Her airframe straining against positive G's and gravity. Her wing tips spilling contrails of condensed air, prop-tips again supersonic. The burnished bird blasted across the eastern margin of the field shredding and tearing the air. At about 500 mph and 150 yards from where we stood she passed with the old American pilot saluting. Imagine. A salute! I felt like laughing; I felt like crying; she glistened; she screamed; the building shook; my heart pounded. Then the old pilot pulled her up and rolled, and rolled, and rolled out of sight into the broken clouds and indelible into my memory.
I've never wanted to be an American more than on that day! It was a time when many nations in the world looked to America as their big brother. A steady and even-handed beacon of security who navigated difficult political water with grace and style; not unlike the old American pilot who'd just flown into my memory. He was proud, not arrogant, humble, not a braggart, old and honest, projecting an aura of America at its best.
That America will return one day! I know it will ... but until that time, I'll just send off this story. Call it a loving reciprocal salute to a Country, and especially to that old American pilot: 1the late JIMMY STEWART (1908-1997), a great actor, real WWII Hero; a Commander of a US Army Air Force Bomber Wing, in England, a USAF Reserve Brigadier General, and a man who wove a wonderfully fantastic memory for a young Canadian boy.
In 1967, Stewart was 59 years old. He died thirty-years later (1997), at 89.
Special Forces Association Chapter IX: An Experience To Recall
Another site of interest: Jimmy Stewart Archives - This Day in Aviation
New VA Policy to Offer Emergency Mental Health Services for Free
LAST UPDATED: JULY 9, 2023
A large number of veterans grapple with mental health issues after returning from deployment, and for many, the effects of these issues can be severe. Recent reports have revealed that veterans have been found to have a higher risk of suicide than the general public, leading to a call for improved mental health resources.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has now announced a new initiative to try and tackle the issue of veteran suicide. Under the new policy, any veteran that has is having suicidal thoughts or behavior will be eligible for free emergency mental health care at a VA or non-VA facility. This includes up to 30 days of inpatient care and 90 days of outpatient care.
These benefits are available to veterans regardless of whether they are enrolled with VA Healthcare.
The VA’s new policy aims to address the concerning trend of veteran suicide rates by providing free mental health resources to veterans in need.
The VA’s new policy is a major step forward in helping to provide critical support for our veterans. By offering free emergency mental health care, veterans in a suicidal crisis can gain access to the professional care and resources they need to help manage their mental health issues and hopefully find relief from the daily struggles they may face.
It’s important to recognize that the VA’s new policy is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to preventing veteran suicide. It’s also critical that we continue to provide access to more mental health resources, including reaching out to our veteran community to better understand their needs and seek out support. Ultimately, preventing veteran suicide will require a joint effort from both public and private sectors.
Veterans who are currently struggling can be connected to specialized help by calling the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988 and then pressing the number one (“1”).
Veterans from WWII and Korea are dying off every day. Veterans of Vietnam and Deseret Storm, etc. may be getting kind of 'long-in-the-tooth', fate, experience and a little age (just 'time') may have slowed some more than when they were younger, but one thing remains true with them.....that "fire in the belly"! It angers them to see how our country is being mistreated by our liberals and by our own government. We swore once to protect this country from all enemies both foreign and domestic, and that oath still is relevant and just as binding now as it was when we raised out hand and took that oath!.
No one has been released from that oath we took at our induction, so ... YES, we still can and will protect this country, at all costs, even to the death; We will protect this great country along with its accomplishments and failures ... Freedoms that most of mankind has never experienced, but only dreamed about cannot be destroyed! NOT ON OUR WATCH !
We rejoice in our great accomplishments, and we hang our heads when we fall short. We can and do make mistakes, yet we work towards correcting those mistakes. We enjoy the freedoms while we protect them for our children, our families and everyone else..
One of our most fundamental rights is that of Free Speech. If I say something that one does not agree with, allow me to finish my statement before offering a different viewpoint. And I will do the same for you! That said, no one can prevent me from expressing my views on public property, so long as I don't advocate violence and do so 'peacefully' ("peacefully assemble"... but that is another right, isn't it.).
Should free speech - or any God-given right - not be allowed on public colleges and universities, as we have already seen; then all federal grants, student loans or any other taxpayer monies they have been receiving should be discontinued, until such time that this attack on the First Amendment fully ceases.
I would like to see a national movement of "Veterans Lives Matter." Whether one is the most successful veteran in America or one is homeless, we all matter, no matter what their race or origin. . And, if the citizens of America won't help, then we have to put our shoulders to the wheel and do it ourselves.
“The land of the free, and the home of the brave.” These words mean more to a veteran than just what is contained in a song. It stands for commitment, dedication and duty. Without almost 250 years of American veterans, this country would not be able to exist in its current form.
All citizens owe our veterans a great vote of thanks. The Independent American Party has a National Veterans Committee. The purpose of this committee is to be a voice of the veterans nationally, with Congress and the Veterans Administration as well as in each state.
Currently, we are the only political party that is pursuing proper treatment of our veterans by the Veterans Administration. We have retired federal employees of the Veterans Administration as well as a service-connected VFW Service Officers and veterans in our ranks. The mission is to let all veterans tell their story, either good or bad, about their care at the VA - good, bad, or ugly!
Email us at our 'Contact page' address which is provided for you to tell your story. Please give your name, physical address and phone number when emailing us. It is important so we know who your Congressioinal Representative is, who your VFW Service Officer or closest IAP Representative might be and get you connected. Together, along with the DAV, VFW and the American Legion, we will take the fight on your behalf for the care at the vets by the VA and government.
Could you use some help to guide you through the complicated system of Veterans Benefits? Contact either: 1) a 'Veterans Helper', or 2) a VFW Service Officer, or 3) a VA Outreach Clinic or Office, ... or even another Veteran ... or contact us at the IAP! We all want to help our brothers in arms! We have your six, bro!
Those who live in the United States of America celebrate the fact one of the wonderful legacies citizens have is living in a land we proudly call the ‘HOME OF THE FREE.’ Yet, sometimes we pay less attention to this reality: the extensive freedoms we enjoy did not come without a price;--in other words, Freedom isn’t Free. This concept was memorably expressed in the lyrics of a song…“Freedom isn’t free. Freedom isn’t free. You’ve got to pay the price, you’ve got to sacrifice, for your liberty!”
The Revolutionary War occurred because many individuals desired freedom so much they were willing to put their lives on the line—and sometimes die--in order to earn the right to be FREE from another country’s domination. So, the phrase coined by some to describe America as: THE HOME OF THE FREE…BECAUSE OF THE BRAVE is an important one which we should not forget.
In doing so, it’s also important to remember that it was not only the ragtag group of ‘makeshift soldiers’ who demonstrated their bravery on the field of battle. It also required real courage and much bravery for patriotic men and women to boldly stand up to England, insisting that those living in this choice land had the god-given right to govern themselves rather than to be ruled by another nation. Some individuals took an active role in forthrightly proclaiming verbally &/or in writing the conviction that freedomshould be the right of all individuals, and this at a time when there had been very little precedent for such, (as the vast majority of individuals prior to this time had their lives largely governed by kings, emperors or other rulers). These persons exhibited their bravery by such actions as refusing to submit to the demands of ‘taxation without representation,’ demonstrating their defiance by dumping tea into Boston harbor, etc. (It’s important to recognize that throughout the history of the world, America is certainly not the only place where residents have fought bravely in the effort to achieve some measure of freedom through their courage and bravery. All who do so--regardless of where they live--should be encouraged and applauded. . .)
Once gained, however, freedom, should not be taken for granted. In fact, living free is a rather fragile condition and can be seriously jeopardized unless those blessed with this are vigilant in their efforts to retain their freedoms. Freedomcan be eroded gradually over time or lost in short order by way of hugely consequential actions. During recent years, freedoms are being threatened at an alarming rate. Unfortunately, the demise of freedomoften occurs at the hands of those in positions of power, who wield whatever power they might possess as a means to obtain
ever more power. Therefore, any who wish to retain their freedom must sometimes take bold steps in order to protect this precious condition. In order to accomplish this often requires that such persons be courageous and even brave.
Here are a few examples of ways that people can be brave in order to maintain or secure freedom. (Note: These particular examples relate to different aspects of being free that I personally feel are important. Obviously, other individuals might have different views about what they consider to be vital freedoms. . .)
• Many schools/school districts have implemented policies exposing very young children to philosophies and practices which lots of parents find highly offensive and inappropriate, (such as requiring even first graders to read clearly pornographic materials &/or aggressively promoting a ‘transgender’ agenda onto young kids), with with the expectation that parents ‘simply accept such.’ Parents who consider that they, not educators, have the right and freedom to maintain primary responsibility for directing this area of young children’s lives often face much pressure and criticism if they voice opinions contrary to those expressed by certain teachers / or implemented as school-wide policies. So doing so requires real bravery…
• Anyone convinced that local, state or federal officials are implementing policies diminishing their prized freedoms as citizens must sometimes bravelytake the initiative to—(in writing &/or in person)--boldly oppose such.
• College students who believe in real freedomof speech who learn that their university is about to prohibit a certain person with views that some might find ‘objectionable’ from making a speech might need to boldly insist that the university administration not allow such a clear violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. To do so might require a high level of braveryas it will likely elicit tremendous criticism and pressure on the student.
In essence, individuals today can themselves defend freedom in ways requiring personal boldness, courage & bravery on their part. One need not be a soldier to bravely obtain and preserve freedomsthey cherish.
Consider This: Discuss with friends or family your gratitude for those who have won great freedoms in the past through so-much personal bravery. Think about freedoms you wish to defend now which will require you to be personally brave, then take steps to do so.
© 2023 William C Tanner III aka: Dr Tres Tanner PhD Permission granted to distribute and/or copy freely so long as no compensation is involved. For more information, FamilyResourceSystems.com.
History of the Old Navy covers 1775 to 1980, when the "New Navy" begins. With almost 250 years of history the US Navy has thousand of veterans of this maritime service.
The Army was formed to fight the Revolutionary War (1775 to 1783) and then disbanded. the US Army began in June 1784 with its formation, but the history continues for 248 years going forward in strength thanks to its Veterans and active duty soldiers of the US land service.
Leathernecks were originally part of the US Navy (1734) but became their own branch in July 1798. "The Few the Proud the Marines" hold an illustrious history for over 225 years as the 'point of the spear" for expeditionary forces and maritime service. Semper Fi !
A more 'modern' branch of the military, it began as part of the Army Signal Corp in 1907, and then the Army Air Corp (1926 to 1941), it became its own branch in 1947 taking on the military control fo the air. Again, thousands and thousands of Veterans have served to 'keep them flying.'
Not just covering the shorelines, the US Coast Guard were deployed in Vietnam, WWII, War of 1812, Civil War, etc. This service began as the utter Revenue Service (1790) under the Dept. of the Treasury and the Life-saving (search and rescue) Service (1848). along with law-enforcement duties (1915) and are currently under the Dept. of Homeland Security.
The newest branch of service. Each member of the Space Command is writing their history each and every day.
Get informed about all the American Legion does at Legion.org ... Join and "Be the One"
Go to VFW.org to find a VFW Post near you, to join and to let them help you OR if you want to help serve your fellow Vets!
Find our more about the DAV at secure.DAV.org They advocate for legislation, assist disabled vets, and so much more!
The VA has several benifits for veterans. Utah has a Regional Medical facility (500 Foothill Blvd., SLC - 801-582-1565)
and a Regional VA Office (550 Foothill Blvd. SLC, 84113 - 800-827-1000)
There are several other organixations set up for veterans (state & non-profit private)
UTAH's Office of Veteran & Military Affairs = https://veterans.utah.gov/