* * * * * DO WHAT YOU LOVE * * * * *
After you passed away, we found a box filled with secrets.
Photographs of you in your uniform.
You'd spoken of your time in the air force.
We knew you were "a damn good pilot who could fly the balls off of an airplane,"
your commanding officer's words.
But there were things we never knew.
Found in pictures,
tucked away in a box.
A story hidden in a box.
We didn't know that you'd been stationed in Taiwan in 1957.
We didn't know you'd performed heroic acts to keep the peace.
You were a quiet hero.
A low flying safety net.
Keeping billowy clouds high above you.
You'd prefer to soar,
but that wasn't the mission.
The mission was to fly low.
Fly low, scanning for threats—unknown.
Keeping the world safe from clouds.
Clouds originating not from the sky,
but from the ground.
Clouds of death and destruction.
And so you, not yet a husband,
not yet a father,
a soldier in times of peace,
keeping the peace.
A fighter who has not seen battle;
does not want to see battle,
yet must battle--
Must fly low.
Scraping the peaks of mountains,
keeping eagles above.
Your wings dipping into the sea,
tracking explosive clouds.
Black wisps that could radiate and eradicate.
A glowing mushroom that could set the world on fire.
By Lisa H. Owens
Dedicated to her father.
Who, we discovered, was likely a Black Bats Operative in 1957 in Taiwan, flying night missions over China.