Originally Published: October 27, 2007 9:18 p.m.
I want to thank you for the Oct. 14 piece on Bill Newell's World War II exploits. He is my uncle and one of my heroes.
He and my father served together for a short period in England. My dad saw Bill take off on that 13th mission, so it fell on him to tell the family that Bill didn't come back that day. Neither my uncle nor my father revealed much about the war, if anything. My father is gone now.
Ever since my brother told me that my dad fought at Normandy, my mission has been to research his landing at Utah Beach on D-Day plus 4, to the end of the war.
I didn't ask my dad about the war, but I'm not going to make that same mistake with my uncle. I am going to make sure I spend time with him... tell him face to face that I respect what he did for his country. I thank God every day my uncle had a passion for flying, like Chuck Yeager and so many others who sacrificed their youth.
I wonder how it feels to fly the P-51 Mustang over enemy territory, 400 miles per hour, 19 years old, alone. I'll ask him. He is one of the silent heroes who served our country and preserved our way of life. Our military is full of soldiers just like my dad and my uncle Bill. Thank God for that.