Seventy-nine years ago, give or take a day or so, a B-17 Flying Fortress began a flight into Germany on a bombing run. The airplane was crewed by some of America’s finest generation, young airmen who fully understood the perils of soaring over Germany to further the war effort and bring Hitler and his minions to defeat. The B-17 was a formidable airplane, heavily armed and flown by well trained crew members one of which was a young Missouri Lieutenant named Melvin Meyer. Lt. Meyer had no way of knowing that on this day, he would meet the man about which the Bible in his flight jacket was written. It would be 79 years before the Lieutenant would be buried in his beloved Missouri, with full military honors.
There is a gaggle of individuals who call themselves “History Flight” that work to locate the remains of our servicemen and women killed in combat. After the Lieutenant’s plane went down, his remains were deemed to be unrecoverable, as was the case with so many of our warriors who disappear in the fog of combat. Relying on electromagnetic scanning, high resolution maps and old military maps this group utilizes the latest in technology to locate crash sites and such with the help of archaeologists who are a member of the team. This crash site resulted in the discovery of the complete outline of the bomber with the engines and cockpit clearly discernible. After mapping the location of the aircraft, the archaeologists went to work and recovered both human remains and personal items that led to the identity of Lt. Meyer. Of interest, his Bible was located in a pocket of his flight jacket, oriented over his heart. The Master already knew Lt. Meyer and welcomed him home to that special place in heaven reserved for our warriors.
Lt, Meyer’s burial, so close to Memorial Day, says a lot about our country and our people. We honor those over this long weekend that have died for our country. Sadly, we often lose track of just what the Holiday means. Most Americans have no idea what it is like to awaken on a given day and begin another deadly confrontation with one of our enemies. They will not feel the cold shiver, even on a hot day, that results when you close with an enemy, knowing that one of you is not going to live beyond that moment. This was the day, for so many, that life ended in a blinding flash. It is a character building experience, both humbling and elating when you are the victor. This holiday is about those that did not win their engagement and came home having given that last full measure.
Take a moment over the holiday to say a prayer. In your thoughts to God, mention those that have died guaranteeing you the immense freedoms this country enjoys. Take an extras moment to thank Lt. Meyer…..and welcome him home to Missouri. It is the least we can do.
Have a wonderful weekend and week ahead.