"In every walk with nature one receives more than he seeks."
John Muir

Thursday, August 23, 2012

We Flew in the Same Sky

As Abigail and I continued our downtown field trip along the Chena River,
we came upon yet another monument.

This one commemorates the heroism of the American and Soviet pilots who flew nearly 8,000 warplanes half way around the world between 1942-1945. 
 The flights of these American-made planes crossed more than 12 time zones as they flew some severe weather conditions from the continental US to the Russian warfronts.

WASPs (Women Air Force Service Pilots) flew many of these planes from their points
of manufacture to Great Falls, Montana.
These pioneer pilots were honored with a plaque, as well.

"Now is not the time for women to be patient.  We are in a war and we need to fight it with all our ability and every weapon possible.  Women pilots are weapon waiting to be used."
Eleanor Roosevelt, 1942

US Army Air Corps pilots  then flew these planes from Great Falls to Fairbanks, Alaska.
Here, pilots of the USSR Air Force flew the planes over western Alaska 
and across Siberia to the Russian fronts. 
Named the Alaska-Siberia Airway, this route was hastily created to promote 
the defense of the US during WW II.

The pilots stand tall with fur-lined flight suits,
two nations joined in the common goal of defeating Hitler.

We moved on from the sobering history of war
and our moods lightened by the sight of the newest rage in tourism.
Alaska's trademarks, the salmon, bear and moose
take a turn on these segways.

We then enjoyed watching a group of REAL tourists
learning how to maneuver up and down little slopes on them.
The animals seemed to manage better, I must admit.

But, when a special little girl is my companion,
all the history lessons pale when pretty
 flowers abound and call out to be sniffed.
And that's quite OK.

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