Have we already forgotten?
I recently received a catalog offering piloting clothing, gifts, and mementos. This was from a company I’ve long respected and have occasionally bought items from. I was appalled at what I saw on one page that offered an autographed book, framed signed posters, and a model of a German WWII fighter plane. Here’s the letter I wrote to the company.
To Whom it May Concern:
Received your Wright Brothers Catalog today.
On page 22 you feature three Nazi pilots and write of them in glowing terms: Gunther Rall ". . . third ranking ace of all time . . . his 275 victories . . . ,” Hans Marseille "the Star of Africa,” and Erich Hartmann ". . . highest scoring ace fighter pilot of all time . . . the 'Blond Knight' of Germany." Between them these three Nazi pilots shot down 785 Allied aircraft, killing hundreds of American and Allied men who fought one of the most evil regimes of all time—many of those men suffering unimaginable agony, such as being burned alive in their cockpits or being maimed and disfigured for life—just so you would have the right to lionize that vicious enemy they fought so bravely.
I suppose a few neo-Nazi skinheads with swastika tattoos who are also free to live and express themselves among us in America might want the overpriced mementos on page 22 glorifying these three Nazi pilots.
But, as you choose to remember and praise these Axis pilots, I choose to remember rather the courageous pilots of the Allied Powers who fought and all too often died in the Battle of Britain and in Italy and in the Pacific, and in North Africa and in the lethal skies over Europe so I, too, could be free.
Please remove me from your mailing list.
Phil Bowie, pilot
New Bern NC
On this Memorial Day let’s pause to remember all the thousands upon thousands of men and women from our military services who gave their lives for us in way too many wars.
And also let’s pause to remember the nearly one hundred thousand souls our nation has lost this year to a new global enemy we all need to keep fighting in every way we can.