The Way It Was
Where Are All The Spitfire Pilots?
By Jim "Gymbeaux" Brown September 18, 2015
Every day it seems as if there are more and more stories about man-made disasters around the world or horrible murders and violence even here at home in America. This morning, after reading about a teenager who took the lives of three people because they argued, saddened me beyond description. There is no logic behind such a story other than one person's total disregard for human life.
So as I sat at my desk with my new Vizio Sound Bar attached to my Desktop computer. I tuned it to some really good listening to music and as I listened I was taken back to 1968. My wife Diane and I were not married for even a year as yet. Another buddy I knew in the Coast Guard had married a British girl. We were invited to her parent's home in the English country side; I believe southeast of London.
What a drive - beautiful country; great people. Then as we approached their home, the only word that comes to mind is WOW! It was a home right out of any book you might read about a British Country Home. It was simply beautiful and our hosts were magnificent especially given that we had never met. After a wonderful Sunday early afternoon meal, we sat out on the front porch that overlooked a wonderfully landscaped front yard that looked out over the British countryside. It was like a painting you might see in a gallery.
"You're in luck!" Our host excitedly said. "It's running!" He then took us to his garage and inside I could not believe my eyes. A 1923 Bentley, painted in British Racing Green. Huge headlamps aside the radiator. Leather straps over the massive hood (bonnet for you British folks). Very large tires and it has seats for four maybe five people. The four of us loaded up and we went for a ride through the British countryside. In American jargon, it was definitely the cat's meow! We were all saying to lookers on - LOOK AT ME!
The conversation turned to World War II of all things. It was at first hard to compare the two; the beautiful country with the horrors of war. Our hosts then described what it was like living in that same home during the war. He said that on almost any given Sunday, like this one, back before America joined the war effort, Britain was at war with Germany. The beauty of the Sunday afternoon would be suddenly broken by the roar of German and British Spitfire fighter planes overhead. I have been fortunate to actually hear what that sounds like but that is a story for another day. Suffice it to say that once you hear that noise you never forget it.
Our host painted the picture for us. Planes fighting overhead like you see in the movies while the people of the village including them would take chairs out onto their yards to watch the overhead fighting. If the German pilot were to be shot down, they would grab whatever they could, guns, shovels, pitch forks, rakes, boards and they would all head out to the field where the pilot either crashed or parachuted to safety. If still alive, they would capture him and wait for the local authorities to arrive. If it was a British pilot shot down, they would rush to his aid. And that is what they did on a Sunday afternoon or any afternoon for that matter, in the southern areas of England in the early 40's. In case you are NOT aware, "The cost of the Battle was high – of the nearly 3,000 aircrew who fought in the Battle of Britain 544 lost their lives and of the remainder a further 814 died before the end of the War." http://www.raf.mod.uk/campaign/battle-of-britain-75th/the-few/
The point of this short story is that there are no "participation trophies" during time of war or life. The German pilot if he survived and returned to Germany, considered it a win. If he downed one or more of the British pilots he may receive a ribbon/medal. If not, he received nothing. The same was true for the British pilots. Why is this a critical part of the story? Because in life we have winners and we have losers. It is very possible to win and not receive recognition and it is possible to lose and receive recognition. You ARE either winning or losing, you are not simply participating. If you are, you are doing nothing but treading water before you drown. What is the difference? If you win at all costs, then what have you expended to create that win for you? Was it your total effort or your partial effort? Was it based upon a little cheating or a little bullying on the side to make it happen? If you lost, did you give it your best or your partial best? Did you receive recognition or maybe nothing at all for whatever effort you gave it?
The real question is, did you give it your absolute best? Your best! There is a wonderful short video on the value and effort it requires to "give it your absolute best." The video is on the Internet but it could be taken down at any time. I only hope it remains forever, it is that good and can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sUKoKQlEC4. I hope you take the few minutes to watch it.
Recently, I, like so many others and maybe you, watched the Republican Presidential Debates #1 and #2. I cannot speak for others but I was disgusted as it seemed to be more and more about personal attacks against each other and given the state of politics and government over the past 20 or 30 years, we needed more substance than was given. These two debates were no different than others I have seen. If the moderator was not attempting to drive a wedge between two or more candidates, the candidates were attempting to drive that wedge. These events seem to be more of a series of "gotcha moments" than they are attempting to find out what each candidate considers their core values, beliefs and principles. If you watched, can you honestly say you learned more about the candidates than you did before you began to watch? Do you know which candidates would adequately respond during a real crisis? I didn't.
I am fortunate enough to have endured the four-year Presidency of Jimmy Carter when it seemed like the entire country was in the tank with no hope of emerging. Along came Ronald Reagan who did not throw stones at his adversary, instead he painted the most rosy of rosy pictures for the future of America. He reignited the belief that we live in the greatest country in the world and it can be great once again. But then he said how he was going to make this happen. Today we get accusations rather than visions. We get distorted histories given by both the candidate him or herself or by the other candidates towards the others on the stage.
As I watched, I thought about the massive excessive spending by America's politicians when the money was not there. It is quite simple, America has spent MORE than it has taken in. They need to take a lesson from Gary Keller, founder of Keller Williams Realty International when he says, "Lead with REVENUES, not with EXPENSES!" PERIOD! Imagine what America would be like if the country had no debt. What are these candidates going to do to achieve a balanced budget and stop spending (expenditures) more than the government takes in (revenues)? I did not hear that from any of them. The world is on the brink of a third world war; there is no question about that yet our current government refuses to even call it for what it is. The desire to live in peace by most but certainly not all people around the world is being threatened by Radical Islam; it is spreading like wildfire across the planet. Do these candidates appreciate what they are getting themselves into and if so, what is each one going to do to protect Americans, AS REQUIRED BY OUR CONSTITUTION? What are they specifically going to do? And what is each one proposing to do about the illegal INVASION (yes invasion, it is not illegal immigration, it is an illegal invasion) of America? And while there are many more issues, I would like to also know what each one proposes to do to get both the Republicans and Democrats to work together to create solutions to these problems that WILL eventually destroy our country just as Germany wanted to destroy and takeover Europe and eventually the world.
We ARE at war and most Americans fail to realize that we are and we have been at war for some time. We are at war with our own government which has failed us at every point by failing just TO DO THEIR JOBS as defined by the U. S. Constitution. EVERY POINT! And it starts and stops with spending more than it takes in. This is an unsustainable operation of government. I look to the sky once again in 2015 and this time I see the enemy combatants circling overhead as so vividly described to me in 1968, but this time I don't see the grossly outnumbered British warriors fighting off the superior in number enemies of the country. Of course I use the term "British" to describe our own government charged with defending and protecting America. But this time we are NOT outnumbered and we are strong but "we the people" are being handcuffed by our own government through laws, regulations, restrictions, failure to focus on what is important and what is not. To illustrate this last point one only need look at the American light bulb and toilet. Our government has gone to great lengths to define to the smallest detail what kind of light bulb we are REQUIRED to use and what type of toilet WE MUST use all while ISIL is overrunning the globe. We are circling the drain in regards to money management and our borders if we even have borders, are as open as ever all the while ISIL grows in strength and we do nothing.
And what do some of our candidates talk about - the face of another candidate, who said what and when it was said, who smoked pot and when, how many times a candidate may have been married. You may want to know this crap, and at least to me that is what it all is, crap. What do I want to know?
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO TO FIX THE PROBLEMS OUR OWN GOVERNMENT HAS CREATED AND THAT ARE ACTIVELY DESTROYING OUR COUNTRY, OUR LIFESTYLES AND THE FUTURES OF OUR CHILDREN? WHAT - WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO? WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO DO IT? HOW ARE YOU GOING TO DO IT? WHAT WILL WE LOOK LIKE WHEN YOU ARE DONE?
Where are the Spitfire pilots when WE need them? If you want an example of someone giving their absolute best, read the history about the Battle of Britain. The entire country gave its absolute best and its reward - it won in the face of extreme odds of being able to do so. Are you and I prepared to put forth that kind of effort to turn our country around? I am, are you?