Thought for the Day: Your 2020 Aviation Ambitions.

Builders,

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Above, earlier this year, my sister speaks with the Father of her close friend. The man is nearly 100 years old. He piloted a Dauntless at the Battle of Midway. People think of Midway as a great, decisive US victory, but did you know the Navy lost 150 aircraft, most with their complete crews?  75% of the torpedo planes were shot down, every single one in Squadron Eight. Cdr. Waldron, skipper of VT-8 confessed in his diary the night before the odds of survival were not good. His men went anyway, and when the day was over, 35 of 36 of them, including Waldron, were dead.  The man in the wheelchair above, is one of the last eyewitnesses to Midway, and I’m guessing the carnage didn’t feel like a ‘victory’ the next day.

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What did Waldron and all the others who perished get for their lives? They got nothing, but they provided us the free world we have lived our whole lives in. It was provided to us by such men, 99% of them, my father included, are gone now. This is the idea I was trying to share, as a spent an hour with my father in 2015: Thought for The Day – Have we squandered the great gift?.

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Fewer and fewer people in our world have any connection with someone like the man in the wheelchair or my father. They feel little if any gratitude for the world, still with many faults, which was given to us on a silver platter. They never stop to consider the western civilization of today was far from inevitable in 1942.

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What is so great to be thankful for? OK, I’m the first person to point out everything hollow about modern consumer life, example: Welcome to the 24/7 Anxiety Machine, but that isn’t a reason to throw in the towel. Unlike many others, I do have a direct connection, my fathers memory, to the people who gave me the world I live in. All my Father asked of his children was treat others fairly and do something valid with our lives. Even though he is gone, I still measure my life by his standard.

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For anything I may bitch about, it has really been my personal mission to do something of meaning in with my days. Even if a lot of society is drifting and getting lost, I’m not in charge of their lives, just my own. I don’t offer an example to anyone,  save the example of things not to do. I personally find understanding, creating and flying light planes, and sharing this with others, an endeavor worthy of what it will, and also what it might, cost you. For 30 years, even on some hard days, I have not faltered in this belief.

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In a few weeks I will be 57, and we will all start a new year, and in a few short months another flying season will be upon us. What will you make of it? 2019 has been pretty good to me, but I’m just using it as a spring board into 2020, and there are many ambitions I have in aviation which I will advance this year. What each of us will, or will not do, will be mostly determined by ourselves, not external circumstance. For those who decide this will be their year, I look forward to playing a role in both your productive success and the good times you will share with friends.

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WEWjr.

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