Super Duper Grandson loves WWII Museum

Comment & Observation
By Joe Lee III


     A “Proud Yankee” reader recently sent in a postcard featuring Sir Winston Churchill making his famous “Iron Curtain” speech on March 5, 1946, at Westminster College.
Penned on the back is, “A great Yankee statesman and orator. His mother was born in Brooklyn.”
     No doubt about it. Churchill’s nerve, intelligence, oral skills, and sheer stubbornness are quite possibly the only reasons we are not speaking German today. During the first few years of WWII, even though fighting valiantly, Britain faced one defeat after another. Churchill kept the free world together – while the U.S. – well – let’s face it – while the U.S. dithered.
The evening of Dec. 7, 1941 – the day the Japanese brought America abruptly into the war – Churchill was quoted as saying, “That night I slept the sleep of the saved…”
The great “arsenal of democracy,” did, indeed crank up and save the world, but if it had not been for Churchill’s tenacity, America’s efforts could well have been too late.
     Thanks to the “Proud Yankee” for the postcard.
Oval office mistake
     It was a sad day when Churchill’s bust was removed from the oval office a few years ago, but we are proud President Trump has put it back.
Speaking of Churchill and World War Two, the Super Duper Grandson Beau had a day off from school last week, and he and I hopped on the train and headed to the WWII Museum in New Orleans.
     What a treat — a great father-son or grandfather-grandson adventure.
     He loved the airplane exhibit.
     His favorite airplane was the B-25B Mitchell. The Mitchell, for those are not up on WWII history, performed the near impossible task of bombing Tokyo on April 18, 1942, – five months after Pearl Harbor.
     It was long-shot. Never before had twin-engine bombers been able to take off from a carrier. They were too big. Too heavy. The distance was too long.
     They did it.
     The physical damage to Tokyo was minimal, but the famous Doolittle Raid’s boost to American moral was great.
     In April 2017, 101-year-old Lt. Col. Dick Cole, the last surviving Doolittle Raider, appeared at the National Museum of the U.S. Air force in Dayton, Ohio. My Internet research has not been able to trace him since then.
Sworn to protect
     There are other very interesting planes at the WWII Museum. The P-51 Mustang. A B-17 “Flying Fortress.”
     Super Duper Grandson Beau’s great-grandfather was a bombardier on the B-17 flying out of North Africa. He, like the other Bombardiers, was sworn to protect the top-secret Norton Bombsight with his life – to make sure it was destroyed in case of a crash.
     After completing 50 missions, Granddaddy James Rush was sent stateside to instruct new bombardiers.
     Of course, the museum is full of other interesting things. A genuine Higgins boat. Scores of ordinary and rare weapons. A don’t miss Tom Hanks big screen narrative of the war.
Super Duper Grandson Beau could not get over how small the U.S. Army was at the beginning of the war – about a third the size of Japan’s and one-tenth the size of Germany’s.
     To quote the Sir Winston once again, “…the United States is like a gigantic boiler. Once the fire is lighted under it there is no limit to the power it can generate…”
I hope the great man’s opinion of our country is still accurate.