On this Memorial Day, we are honored to share these poignant words from our friends at Stallion 51, explaining why they do what they do.
Memories and remembering tie us to the past and often together. As Memorial Day approaches, it is important to remember those who gave so much for the good of us all. A time when the world came together in the hopes that good would win over evil. We realize that to many warbirds are a touch-stone to a time when right would win out over wrong. That as a nation, all gave some, some gave all whether on the frontlines or on the home front.
At Stallion 51, we are reminded of those sacrifices as we share our P-51 Mustangs with those who want to touch the history they represent; it is our honor and privilege. Some who fly with us bring with them personal reasons of why they want to fly the Mustang with us; a family member flew them in the war, or worked on them in the factory or heard stories how the Mustang saved a family member on the battle fields or over the skies of Europe.
In December of 2022, one of Stallion 51’s instructor pilots, John Posson (JP) flew Alain Barthel in “Crazy Horse.” Alain, a passionate aviation history enthusiasts, had flown from Switzerland to fly Stallion 51’s Mustang for personal reasons. Alain shared that his grandfather had hidden Allied airman in France during WW II under the threat of death from the SS if he was caught. JP shared that his uncle, who he was named after, was shot down in a B-24 and buried in France. Through their preflight conversation it was obvious that JP and Alain shared a common history, so much so that after their Mustang flight Alain offered to put flowers on the grave when he returned to Europe.
When Alain returned to his home in Switzerland he drove four and half hours to Lorraine American Cemetery and Memorial located just outside Saint-Avold, Moselle, France to fulfill his promise of laying flowers on JP’s uncle’s grave. Alain and JP shared the moment via Facetime while he was there, completing an act of kindness and respect that Alain’s grandfather would have been proud of.
Warbird owners and operators keep that history alive, relevant and accessible; making connections with people and the past through flight opportunities and airshows. Thank you to Alain for remembering those who we owe so much.
On this Memorial Day and everyday, we remember and are grateful. -By KT Budde-Jones