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   Vol. 23 No. 27
Tuesday June 7, 2024

Last Of The Greatest

Delta Airlines and World War II Returning Vets

     Of all the images from D-Day 2024, the old soldiers emerging from a Delta Air Lines flight to France yesterday onto the hardstand, where a couple dozen wheel chairs whisked them to the battlefields that once upon a time they had fought their way onto, was quite moving.
     As these men fade away, it reminded me of when the last WWI soldiers passed by in wheel chairs down Fifth Ave thirty years ago or when we saw the last Civil War Vets on flinty black and white newsreels from the 1920s.
     God bless them all, as we send out our heart to all that served from every country and pray this never happens again.
     Looking at these Vets, I am aware that still today we say little about our experience as Vets coming back from a forced two-year enlistment in the U.S. Army serving 13 months of that time as a guest of Uncle Sam in a strange land—Vietnam.
     Right away it was clear even sixty years ago that the locals in Vietnam were a wonderful, industrious lot, who most certainly had more in common with people from the North who looked familiar, spoke the same language, ate the same food and for the most part shared the same religion.
Geoffrey Arend     Can only still wonder of the sensibilities of our Government to put us into that jackpot of a place, which had been ruled by the French for 100 years adding nothing to Vietnam except a one-way export profit market for themselves; and The Continental Hotel as venue for a Graham Greene novel titled “The Quiet American”.
     Actually, The Continental with its wrap around Sidewalk Cafe (that I think is still there) sat on the corner of Rue Tu Do and was antebellum design elegance.
     But enough of that stuff with one more thought for the military Generals out there.
     If you must go to war, any war, try and win it, otherwise you too can be dismissed as we Vietnam Veterans were “as participants in loss”.
     Some of that has changed but the rejection for decades after the Vietnam War was palpable.
     I recall flying to Saigon from Oakland aboard a World Airways Constellation the most beautiful airplane that has ever been built, period. We stopped at HON and also at Wake Island and seventy years later I still dream of those few hours on Wake sitting in what was left of the old Pan Am China Clipper Hotel there. The color of the South Pacific Ocean was deep blue cerulean, a color never seen before or since.
     The menu on the airplane was two 12 inch sausages and pancakes. We ate that meal over and over at least four times on our trip. Others must have too, because I saw a picture of the meal on the web a couple years ago.
     Later I did an interview for our publication during the late 1970s with World Airways Founder and CEO Ed Daley in his office at Oakland and told him that story, and he laughed. Good thing, because during those days it is said that Ed kept a loaded pistol in his desk.
     But the view of that beautiful Delta Air Lines Airbus in France this week and dozens of wheelchairs literally surrounding it, whilst stewards gently carried some of the vets down the staircase really brought service to our country to mind.
     Bless 'em all.
If You Missed Any Of The Previous 3 Issues Of FlyingTypers
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Vol. 23 No. 24
AmidSpring's Day Dream
Chuckles for May 14, 2024
Where Are They Now
Vol. 23 No. 25
Vocational Cargo At A Much Earlier Age
Raising Hong Kong Not Just WCS
Chuckles for May 28, 2024
Indian Garment Exporters New Normal
Indian Widebody Shortage
Memorial Day 1940
Vol. 23 No. 26
Air India Readies Cargo Future
The State Of Global Air Cargo
Chuckles for June 4, 2024

Publisher-Geoffrey Arend • Managing Editor-Flossie Arend • Editor Emeritus-Richard Malkin
Senior Contributing Editor/Special Commentaries-Marco Sorgetti • Special Commentaries Editor-Bob Rogers
Special Assignments-Sabiha Arend, Emily Arend
• Film Editor-Ralph Arend

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