Avalon Chronicles #23: "A Tribute to a Valiant Warrior and Gracious Gentleman"
Allen Clark Web Site: www.combatfaith.com
Blog Site: www.combatfaith.blogspot.com
Regarding the messages emanating from Linda's and my Nov. 2013 visit to England it has been my intention to proceed chronologically and end with the one I will submit today. My pace is unhurried and it may be several months before I write them all. We were on our trip at all due to the invitation of retired Air Force Col. Chuck Walker, our friend in Dallas, married to Dede (formerly Casad). For a number of years Chuck has traveled to Norwich, England to participate in the meetings and commemorations of a trust which has been established in Norwich to honor the Americans of the Second Air Division of the Eighth Air Force who served in WWII at fourteen air bases in the vicinity of Norwich, which is northeast of London near the North Sea. The trust especially commemorates and honors the 6,881 American airmen who were killed flying missions against Germany from these bases. Colonel Walker flew 35 missions in B-24 bombers from these bases.
On our last day in London, where we had proceeded, after a marvelous trip to Norwich for Great Britain's Nov. 10, 2013 Remembrance Day, we were joined by Chuck and Dede and some English friends at a memorial service in the American Chapel of St. Paul's Cathedral, after which we went to dinner across the street at Strada Italian restaurant. The day we left Norwich I wrote, "From our new friendships and experiences we have derived on this visit to England a new sense of dignity, civility, use of language, sense of history, and continuity with our own United States of these ancient peoples. Especially we have acquired an unparalled appreciation of the commitment, dedication, valor, and sacrifice of our Army Air Force men and women who served from 1942-1945 in those bases around Norwich."
Upon our departure from the restaurant on that final night of Nov. 14, 2013 I continued in the spirit of the notes from days before by going to the end of the long table where we were seated to say some special personal words to Col. Walker. I had written these words, "This service (of the men of his unit) is exemplified in remarkable fashion in the embodiment of an extraordinary patriot, our host, Colonel Charles Walker. He does not consider himself a hero, but to this younger soldier of a later war, he stands tall in my eyes as a warrior who arose with his crew, heard a briefing, climbed aboard his B-24 Liberator bomber at his airfield at Tibenam, cruised down the runway 35 times to rain destruction on the enemy in Germany. He returned home to marry, raise two children, and contribute to the building of our great America along with the other members of his 'Greatest Generation.'" I continued, " We sons of today we salute you sons of an earlier day. You lit the paths in whose footsteps we would walk to continue to serve the cause of peace and freedom for those who would follow us."