Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Flying Fortress


After its 31 years of residency in Fort Worth, the B-17 is leaving Texas.  I regret that I never went the short distance to view it on the ground.

The B-17, or Flying Fortress, as it was generally called, was an icon of WWII. It was massive, for planes of those years, and it steadily and effectively carried out its mission as a bombing machine. It soon became known as a very tough plane, sustaining terrible damage and still managing to return its crew home and then be repaired and returned to battle.

War is a terrible thing with its death and destruction and the B-17 was made for war. However, when freedom or servitude, life or death, are at stake, as they were at that time, this B-17 tough fighting machine soon became a heroic  symbol of  our nation’s knowhow and determination to do what was necessary for our survival,
Bombing raids were carried out
often with more than a hundred
Flying Fortresses

 One of my most memorable moments of the wartime years, was the day a deep roar brought the entire neighborhood to their yards to gaze upward as the sky was filled with these monstrous planes passing overhead. There were too many to count; there were probably hundreds, for the flight went on and on and the air vibrated with the awesome roar of the engines.

 We had no hint of their designation but we knew their purpose and the sight and sound of these Flying Fortresses going about their   business of saving the world from Nazism was sobering.

Photos are from Wikipedia's files and from a Federal Government page. Many of the stories found in the Flying Fortress archives and other wartime pages, told by the men who survived,  make a good argument that none of our movies or novels have been exaggerated....except, perhaps the female character, who seems able to always  appear beautiful.