It seemed like the weather knew that today was going to be different. Overcast skies and chilling temperatures awaited us as we traveled to the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial. The gloomy weather adequately reflected the somber tone of the event. Eight Legends (what American Veterans are referred to in the United Kingdom) made their way up to the top of the hill in preparation to raise the American Flag. After hoisting the flag to the top of the pole, the American National Anthem and Taps were played to honor the 8,938 American men and women recognized at the cemetery. A memorial wreath was then presented to commemorate the fallen service men and women. We began to walk down a path containing the Tablets of the Missing. The personal narratives of the young lives, full of potential, that were sacrificed for our country's freedom, were touching.
Dale Deaver, born in 1925 was drafted into the war when he was 20 years old. He was part of the 303rd Bomb Group and was stationed at Molesworth. He completed seven missions before his plane was shot down over friendly territory in Germany. He recalled the event in detail. He described how his plane was shot at by enemy Anti-Aircraft guns. The wings were badly hit and a fuel pump was destroyed in the process. This resulted in the plane needing to be crash- landed. Luckily, General Patton had seized the territory one day before, or they would have landed in enemy territory, which would have resulted in the crews' capture.
Despite the hardships he has faced, he is an encouragement to the other Veterans. Specifically, after one of the other veterans accompanying us on our tour, Pop Gilbert, recounted his story, Dale was particularly supportive. Pop expounded on losing his crew. During the time that Pop was grounded, (three days) the other members in his crew were shot down. Solemnly realizing that he should have been on that plane, Dale immediately reminded Pop that God had a greater purpose for his life when he was spared from that tragedy. Dale recalled a moment during one of his missions when a plane was shot down in front of theirs. He stated that they should have been in the position where the plane was and was certain that God was watching out for the crew. He continuously reinforced the notion that, "There's always someone who is watching over you."
Stephanie Clark, Senior
Jesse Henderson, Senior