Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Last crewman of the Enola Gay takes off on his final flight

Stretch emails:
RIP Theodore Van Kirk
I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Van Kirk a few years ago. He kindly autographed a photograph for me.
Had it not been for him and the crew of the Enola Gay and the Bock's Car my Uncle Robert, Uncle Jack, Uncle Jim and Father-in-law Joe would have been in invasion of Japan. Operation Olympic, Oct. 1945.
Given the JCS estimated over 1,000,000 casualties (1/4 Million fatalities) my cousins and THEIR children owe a great deal to Mr. Van Kirk and his cohorts.
And millions of Japanese owed their lives to that mission as well.  War Department estimates of Japanese civilian casualties in the planned Operation Downfall ran as high as ten million.  This is a fine tribute to a man who I had not known lived only a few miles from Camp Borepatch:
Like many World War II veterans, VanKirk didn't talk much about his service until much later in his life when he spoke to school groups, his son said.
"I didn't even find out that he was on that mission until I was 10 years old and read some old news clippings in my grandmother's attic," Tom VanKirk told the AP in a phone interview Tuesday.
Instead, he and his three siblings treasured a wonderful father, who was a great mentor and remained active and "sharp as a tack" until the end of his life.
"I know he was recognized as a war hero, but we just knew him as a great father," Tom VanKirk said.
Bravo Zulu, sir.  Bravo Zulu.  Fair winds and following seas.

1 comment:

Goober said...

I've made the statement the the atomic bomb saved Japanese lives before, too, and most people that hear me say it act totally shocked.

Some puff up. Some just proceed to ignore me from that point on, as if having this opinion makes everything else I say invalid.

It's sort of like the gun crime thing - you can tell 100 stories of people getting knifed to death, and these folks will just cluck disapprovingly.

Tell one story of a young, suburbanite white woman getting shot, and they collectively lose their fucking minds. Because guns are evil, end of discussion, no further debate accepted or considered.

I think that's what's going on here. They would rather see 10 million dead by conventional means, than they would 200,000 killed by an atomic blast.

Because atomic blasts are just wrong and evil, period, no discussion accepted, or further debate considered.

There is a special place in these folks' brains where a person can be dead, and that's okay, but that same person can be dead by some unapproved means of making him so, and it becomes unacceptable.

I honestly believe that most of these folks would rather have wiped an entire generation of japanese and american young men out of the history books, than they would see two cities get nuked.