Letter: Remembering WW II Planes

Letter: Remembering WW II Planes

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

Many of us who are "of a certain age" were indulged in some nostalgic reminiscences on May 8, shortly after noon, by the fly-by of 20 or more types of airplanes of World War II vintage over the Potomac River and the National Mall. The event was publicized by an article in that day's Washington Post,which was graphically enhanced by a display of airplane silhouettes meant to help in identifying the planes that would be on view. In truth, however, I needed very little assistance in identifying the various planes as they flew by — because the memories from my boyhood are still quite vivid. I was 4 years old when we joined the war in December 1941, and nearly 8 years old when the war in the Pacific ended in August 1945, and the identification of all military airplanes — ours or theirs — was a never-ending obsession for all of us children throughout the war. We collected countless pictures of the airplanes, we drew the airplanes, we built or purchased model airplanes, and we had images of the airplanes tattooed everywhere on our bodies. The more fortunate among us were also able to acquire versions of a pilot's helmet and flight jacket and could fantasize being at the controls of a Grumann TBM Avenger attacking a forlorn Japanese battleship. It was a grand game that we played; and little did we know how the game was really being played.

Elliot Wilner