Sacrifices of the fallen keep aviators aloft

  • Published
  • By Capt. Adam Ebacher
  • 96th Airlift Squadron
Sacrifices of the fallen keep aviators aloft

On May 28th, in the year 2012, in the small towns speckled along the eastern edge of Minnesota and the western edge of Wisconsin, people honored the marked events that changed the world.

On that day a solider stepped off an amphibious landing vehicle into the water off the shore of Normandy. On that day a B-24 tail-gunner successfully intercepted his target protecting his crew and ensuring mission success. On that day a Seaman aboard his battleship loaded another round of artillery as the island bombardment prior to the Battle of Inchon continued off the shore of South Korea. On that day a young Marine touched down on a hot landing zone in the depths of Vietnam. On that day an Army field medic stabilized another wounded soldier enough to survive airlift to a treatment facility. On that day a Soldier quickly attended to injuries and assessed damage as another roadside bomb pummeled his convoy with debris.
Everything that America's veterans gave for the country they served, and the families they fought for, revived as crowds gathered in remote cemeteries, churches, fields, and memorials in the early morning on Memorial Day this year.

It is a rare thing when the number of the living outnumbers the dead at cemeteries in small towns across the Midwest at one particular point in time. The 96th Airlift Squadron stationed in Minneapolis had the opportunity to visit a dozen of the ceremonies this year in the form of a C-130 flyover.

From the air we saw it over and over again as countless heads turned, hands waved, salutes were rendered, and children pointed in our direction for the few seconds our aircraft could be seen overhead. Our presence showed, if only for a moment, we remember too. It showed that the reason the visitors were there with their flowers and their flags is the same reason we fly, the same reason we fight, and the very reason we will win every time.

To those who could not hold their loved ones, to those who fight dearly to keep memories strong after years go by, to those who were there and are surrounded by those who were not, we fly for you. Your memories are our fuel, your smiles are our happiness, and your tears are our sorrow. There are many explanations as to how an airplane flies, but an American military aircraft is different. What kept us aloft on Memorial Day 2012 were the sacrifices of those who have gone before and the support of those who honor them.

If you get the chance to see another military aircraft fly by or hear our engines on a cloudy day, please let it be a reminder that America's veterans will never be forgotten.