To the Editor:
How often we hear the term hero used when watching the nightly news, but seldom do we hear the term used to describe an individual whose heroic deeds occurred 70 years ago, because they have been long forgotten.
Born in 1920, one of those forgotten heroes, Jack Lane, died recently at the age of 94. I first met Jack as a wonderful photographer, who donated an aerial photograph of Bristol School, where I worked, sometime in the ’90s.
It was during that time that I discovered that Jack, as a young man, was a member of a bombing crew flying over Germany in World War II, as the U.S. and U.K. were combating the tyranny of Nazi Germany.
The statistics are almost beyond comprehension: our “flyboys,” as they were referred to in the 1940s, had a documented 754,818 bombing runs over Europe and of that number 9,949 bombers were shot out of the sky and with those downed planes were 79,265 U.S. airmen. The odds were slim that when your bomber plane took off over the English Channel you would return alive and in one piece, as the enemy sent aloft hundreds of fighter planes to shoot you down.
As I talked to Jack about those frightening days when every day might be the last, it became quite evident that what these men did to preserve our way of life was truly heroic.
Jack Lane is a true hero and fortunately survived to live many more productive years. His final years were in a wheelchair, but his character was such that his spirit never wavered and I understood more completely how this man’s life was in the balance on every danger filled flight.
Thank you John “Jack” Lane. You may be gone but certainly not forgotten.