|flight deck of an aircraft carrier|
This is based on a factual story told me:
“I worked the flight deck. Lots of us had to, and it was a job! We had to get the planes ready, then when they came back, we had to make sure they landed OK, and it was dangerous then if the plane was damaged. Lots die on the flight deck, either pilots or we workers.
“After a while, we on the deck knew our pilots. It was part of the job. When we got them ready to send off, we had to make sure everything was done that we could do so they could come back. Every face I remember leaving that flight deck.
“One we all knew was Johnny. He was real nice, good-looking young man, and from a rich family. We all knew that, but everybody thought the world of him. Whenever he was around, he said hey to everyone, and the other pilots liked him a lot too. Everyone liked him. But really, when we sent those pilots off, we worried about all of them.
“One day, a plane didn’t come back. It was the same chill we felt like all the planes, knowing that the pilot was either dead or caught. When we checked to see who all returned, Johnny hadn’t come back.
“We waited and waited for Johnny. He didn’t come back. We just sat there on the flight deck, not a thing we could do. We waited and waited, hoping he was late. But he wasn’t late. Johnny didn’t come back. We had a gut feeling they caught him.
“Johnny did come back, years later. But I can’t forget the day we waited for him to come back. It’s in my mind every day.”
May this story be in remembrance of all “Johnny’s” that didn’t come back, suffered as Prisoners of War, or hideous injury. We honor those that fight and died for our freedom.