Today was indeed a sentimental journey for me, as I ventured out to see Texas Raiders, the B-17 my dad helped restore decades ago when it was based at Ellington Air Force Base in Houston, TX. I had already seen her in the morning; knowing her ETA at Easterwood Airport here in College Station, I stepped outside and – lo and behold – there she was, approaching from the southeast, turning and making her approach to the airport.
Have you ever seen and heard a B-17 in flight? If you haven’t, you have truly missed out. There is nothing like it.
“There she is!”
Okay, so there wasn’t anyone around to hear me, but I still said it.
Texas Raiders at Astin Aviation/Easterwood Airport, College Station. Isn’t she just something? Those folks are being briefed for their flight.
I had not been in her presence since 1997, when I dispersed my dad’s cremains from her overhead hatch in flight.
Seeing her again, my heart was full. My eyes were leaky. It was . . . moving. I had expected to feel emotional, but I was a bit taken by surprise by the strength of those feelings.
I touched her, giving her a “hug” in those touches and saying “thank you.”
In those touches, was a connection to Dad, to a time gone by, to all that is good, right and honorable with our country.
TR Nose Art
Front gunner position
I stayed for a while, as her passengers boarded for their flight, heard her engines roar to life once again, watched her take to the air in all her majesty and saw her back on the ground safe and sound.
Not too many photos, as I was more into experiencing the moment.
It was spiritual. It was awesome. It was noisy. It was joyous. It was . . . a very meaningful experience for yours truly.
I went to see Her. I went for Dad. I went for me.