From Guadalcanal and the Philippines,at the start of World War II, To the hostile skies of Europe, thru miles of flak she flew. At home at thirty thousand, majestic as a Queen, A Silver Bird flow by men, many in their teens. She carried war to the tyrants lair, to keep all nations free; She flew thru flak and flame, as far as eye could see. She slugged it out with Hitler’s best, brought her dead and wounded home. Damaged and with engines out, it was often times alone. Born of war, but seeking peace, she carried valiant men into the very jaws of death, and brought them home again. Berlin, Frankfurt, and countless others, courageous daylight raids, and only God in Heaven knows, the awesome price she paid. She met death at 30,000, or on a treetop run. A victim of ack-ack shell or Luftwaffe fighters gun. Like all the men who flew her, for peace and hope she yearned. But too often mission boards would read, “Failure to return”. Often plane and crew went down, in a hostile place. Others were missing in action, and lost without a trace. Her era’s in the past, but the history that she’s made, must always be remembered, and never be betrayed. Generations have come and gone; Enjoyed their hopes and dreams, Yet never paused in gratitude to this aging Silver Queen. And the men who flew her, Heroes every one, who stood between our nations shores, and the tyrants mighty guns. Yes, she’s tired and weary, A little aged and worn. But, she fought and bought their freedom, before most of them were born. And we who still remember, To-Jo and Hitler’s dreams, Stand a little prouder … in the presence of the Queen.
— Ivan Fail, former B-17 crew member Image credit: The Collings Fouindation