I am an honorary member of the 509th Composite Group. My dad was a member of this group and the 393rd Bombardment Squadron, the unit assigned with the duty of delivering the atomic bomb. I have all of my dad’s letters from his time with the 393rd. He was stationed all around the country, as secrecy was essential. In the last months of the war, the 509th went to the Island of Tinian. Colonel Paul Tibbets was in charge of the entire operation and flew the Enola Gay on that fateful day when the first atomic bomb was dropped.
My dad never felt regret for being a part of that unit. He believed, as did the masses during the war, that the atomic bomb saved millions of American lives and possibly millions of Japanese lives. Today we might have the luxury of second-guessing history, but the leaders and news organizations at that time felt it was the right thing to do.
My dad talked often about those days and about flying home on the Enola Gay. I still have his orders and the names of all those who were assigned to fly home on the B-29s. Dad died ten years ago. Ten years later, I’m proud my dad served his country and provided a better life and freedom for me.
This week I received news from the 509th that another hero has died. No, his name won’t be mentioned in the press—we’re too obsessed with Michael Jackson. Only in a sick society could we be so obsessed with such a confused and pathetic person. Only in a society with no moral bearings could we applaud a man who was accused of child molestation. “Decency” and “honor” are not words that come to my mind when thinking of Michael Jackson.
The hero who died—and who will be overlooked except for a few historians, family, and friends—was Charles “Don” Albury, a 393rd airplane commander. He died on May 23, 2009. Don was the copilot and last surviving member of the B-29 “Bock’s Car” that flew the Nagasaki mission on August 9, 1945. He also flew as the copilot of the B-29 “Great Artiste,” the Hiroshima instrument plane. Don flew with Col. Paul Tibbets when Paul inspected the possibilities of using Wendover Field to form and train the 509th. After the war, Don was a pilot for Eastern Airlines. He was a believer, and every day he raised and lowered the American flag that stood outside his house.
An American hero is gone, and he will not be remembered. An American weirdo is dead, and they are charging people to attend his funeral. Which one would you look up to? I never met Don Albury, but if he was a believer as they say he was, I’ll see him one day. I never met Michael Jackson, and I doubt if I ever will. The only biblical reference I can think of with Michael Jackson is the rich man in hell begging Father Abraham to send Lazarus to tell his brothers not to end up in hell. Tito and Jermaine, are you listening?
2 thoughts on “A Historical Perspective on Death”
Okay Michael: I hear that confession is good for the soul. Brian Kelley told me to watch out for your blogs. That is how I found out about them. Then Stephanie wrote me a really nice email.
Everytime I read your blog, I learn a little more of how you think. Strange as it might seem to you, you and I think exactly alike. I am so sick of this Michael Jackson media that I want to vomit! Excuse my frankness. The real heroes are as you have described in this blog.
I only wish that more pastors had the intestinal fortitude to speak as frank as you do. They acquiesce to the congregation and their whims.
I had better stop here – might get in trouble if I speak any more. (I say that with humor)
God Bless you and God Bless America!!!
Someday my wife and I will visit Albany, Georgia and Sherwood Baptist Church. We want to come when you are delivering the sermon. Since I am retired, we can be at free, most of the time, to come and go as we wish.
Wes Allard – Mansfield, Texas.
A PS to my note to you. I served in Korea in 1953-1954 and came home in 1955. I was in the US Army Engineers. True, I saw no real combat, but I did get a good taste of what foreign soil can do to a guy. It was in Korea on December 24, 1953, at 8:30 PM that a wonderful Christian guy in my unit led me to Christ. I have never been the same since – Praise God for that. I immediately lost 90 percent of my vocabulary. To this day, Paul (his name) and I correspond by mail.