Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was...

Bossanyi's War and Peace Window
Washington National Cathedral
6 Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.

7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

8 Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.

Ecclesiastes 12:6-8 King James Version

You might gather that I'm feeling a bit melancholy today. Perhaps wistful is a better descriptor, I'm not sure.

Thinking back to our visit to the National Cathedral, I am haunted by the beauty that is in that place. Both physically and spiritually.

As you can see, the sun was shining brightly when I took that opening photo. At first I wanted to adjust the exposure, perhaps the colors were too bright, in the end I left it as it was. That's how I remember that particular window, not far from the tomb of President Woodrow Wilson. I did pay my respects to the President's memory. I may not have agreed with his politics but from all accounts he was a good man.

Also in the National Cathedral is the final resting place of an aviator, Norman Prince, one of the founders of the Lafayette Escadrille.

Statue of Norman Prince

Norman Prince (1887-1916) was a leading founder of France's Lafayette Escadrille with Bill Thaw, Elliott C. Cowdin, Frazier Curtis, and Greeley S. Curtis, Jr.

Captain Georges Thenault, the Escadrille's commander, credits Norman for conceiving the idea of bringing together his countrymen with some of those of the French Foreign Legion in a squadron of flyers to be initially known as the Escadrille Américaine. Elliott C. Cowdin, in an article which he published in the Harvard Alumni Bulletin (March 7, 1918) gave the full credit for the formation of this flying corps and for its incorporation in the French flying service to the energy and persistence of Norman Prince.

As an aviator, serving as a sergeant in the French air service, Norman Prince was involved in 122 aerial combat engagements in which he was officially credited with five victories. He was also thought to have brought down four additional hostile planes which were not confirmed.

Prince was awarded the French Legion of Honor, Medaille Militare and Croix de Guerre.

On October 12, 1916 Prince flew as an escort for a bombing raid on the Mauser rifle works at Oberndorf, Germany during which he shot down an enemy plane. Returning to base, his landing wheels hit telegraph cables near his air base and his plane flipped over and crashed.

Prince was severely injured and died on October 15, 1916. On his death bed he was promoted to sous lieutenant and awarded the Legion of Honor. His body was returned to the United States and buried in an elaborate tomb at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. (W)
I knew of Sous Lieutenant Prince from a number of books I read as a kid. I was not expecting to find that he was interred in the National Cathedral. It was an honor to have been able to stand by this man's final resting place and pay my respects.

Norman PrincePhoto is in the Public Domain
Like I said, a bit melancholy today. Perhaps because of the loss of a fellow airman. Thoughts and prayers...


12 comments:

  1. A song I long ago decided to have played ay my funeral (among several others)

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    1. I'm glad you liked it Virgil. I have loved that song since I first heard it when I was home on leave for Christmas. In 1980 I think.

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  2. FWIW my Mother has a brick in her name at the Cathedral--dedicated by her child-hood playmate and my 1st cousin, Lt Gen (ret) Carlos M. Talbott.

    BTW, what do you think of what I regard as a desecration of the Cathedral by the recent allowing of Muslims to have a mass prayer in there. Muslims regard such things as do cats--marking their territory. What a coup for the Muslims over suicidally naive Americans (sigh) Wasn't big news here, but it WAS in the Muslim world!

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    1. That's awesome that your Mother is memorialized there.

      As to your last, it is a desecration of the Cathedral. Most definitely.

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  3. PS: RIP to Dubois, He had a zero-zero seat, wonder why unless he had control problems and went inverted at low alt.

    Also: What's with wearing the AF wings patch on the left sleeve? In my time it was on left breast. Also besides name one's rank and "USAF" were on patch below wings. Noe only the name sans rank. Reason?

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    1. I haven't heard anything further on the crash. As to the patch on the left shoulder, that's the first time I have ever seen that.

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  4. Well, I'll ans my own question. Not having the rank on the patch is for the same reason we had our rank on the shoulders of our flight-suits in velcro--so they could be taken of before a msn to deny the enemy vital info if shot down and captured.. (strangely, early on in Vietnam we flew with everything sewed on) What I don't understand is the shoulder positioning--unless it's for the crew-chiefs benefit as on breast of flt suit it would be hidden by the survival vest and/or mae-west.

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    1. Sounds reasonable. I'm also thinking if you need to eject over bad guy land, wouldn't it be easier to rip it off your shoulder before ejecting instead of having to go under your vest?

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    2. PS: I am but a fossilizing geezer slow on the uptake..

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  5. I read about Nungesser and Lufbery and the Esquadrille at a tender age. it was a different age of the world.

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)