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?