My dad asks for brown socks for Christmas almost every year. He's a giver, and when it comes to himself, he just doesn't usually want that much. So my family hasn't always had the relish of seeing him open a gift he just loves. I mean, how excited can you get about socks?
But today, he had one of his great wishes fulfilled.
My grandfather was a pilot in WWII and flew a B-17. He died shortly after the war, in a car crash on his way back from training, so my dad never knew his father. Growing up, we never heard my dad talk much about him. Now, at 62, he's learning more about his father and connecting with him through the book of love letters my grandmother compiled.
Part of that connection, for him, is the B-17. In past years, he's gone to Centennial Airport to watch the B-17, that you can pay to fly in for a hefty price. Then for Father's Day this year, we caught him a ride on the bomber. When we told him, he couldn't speak. He stood there blank for a few seconds until he started crying. Crying, my dad. I've never seen him cry except a funeral once or twice. When he told my grandmother he was going up, she cried too.
So here are some pictures of our special day. There was a tank, and guys dressed up in WWII garb. They had a mic. And announced I was giving out free hugs. (I turned several men away.)
This is me showing the way to Paris to some lost GIs.
Someone gave me a gun.
Here's dad right before getting on. That's a happy man.
Here's a shotty video of the B-17 taxi-ing. I got distracted halfway in and stopped watching, which is why it drifts off. But this is the triumphant return video.