I want to take note of the death of two American heroes this month. Both were World War 2 fighter pilots.
The first is General Chuck Yeager, who died on December 7 at age 97. He was most famous for being the test pilot that broke the sound barrier on October 14, 1947, flying a Bell X-1 he named Glamorous Glennis, after his wife, at Mach 1.05. He also had a fantastic career as an Air Force combat pilot in three wars and was notable for downing five enemy aircraft in one mission and being the first pilot to shoot down a jet fighter. He ended his career as a Brigadier General.
The other hero, also a World War 2 P-51 pilot, was my Uncle Linwood “Lindy” Genung. He died late last week. His experiences flying close air support for Patton’s Third Army are pretty impressive. This site has a video (click here) of Lindy telling the story of his war-time exploits.
After the war, he did what many veterans did. He returned home, got married to my Aunt Lela. They adopted two kids, Scott and Patty. Lindy went to work for AT&T and spent his whole career with them. He was working for them in Tehran, Iran, in 1978, when the Islamic Revolution, which eventually ousted the Shah, began.
Who will take their place in the fight to preserve freedom?
His great love seemed to be traveling. He owned numerous travel trailers and motorhomes in his life, and he and his family spent a great deal of time wandering the continent. As a young boy, I had the good fortune to travel with them on a couple of trips. The first covered the Northeast US and parts of Canada and included a visit to the New York World’s Fair. The second, a couple of years later, covered most of the Western United States. Thanks to Lindy and Lela, I visited about 41 different states and Canada before I was twelve. Also, thanks to Lindy, I survived the trips. I was a bit accident-prone in those days, and whenever I would see him in recent years, he would remind me that he saved my life on at least a couple of occasions.
Yeager and Genung were two guys who epitomized that American generation that many consider the greatest. They were real men who stepped up when their country needed them and faced the danger of war with courage and purpose. They were real anti-fascists who fought real fascists, not the spoiled, drug-addled soy boy version of “anti-fascist” engaging in temper tantrums we see in the streets today.
We are in crazy times when some are traumatized by red MAGA hats and statues of old white guys, and government officials are permitted to lock down entire populations and to destroy economies based on bad science. There is a real assault on American freedoms. One wonders how we will replace men like Yeager and Genung. Who will take their place in the fight to preserve freedom? If a younger generation will not take up the challenge, American greatness is at an end.