To Wings...My report
- Dear Wings...Last week you asked me to find out how our U.S.
fighter pilots were regarded at the conclusion of WWII.
A pilot who flew a B-17 Flying Fortress says that for the most part,
they were greeted as "saviors of the free world." Families and
friends were delighted to welcome them home and in most towns there
were parades. But, many of them found returning to their old towns
or neighborhoods was a bit of an adjustment. Old jobs and old
bosses were no longer a good fit for men who had experienced the
adventures they had, and fathers were quick to point out that well
deserved as a little rest might be, the returning heroes were
expected to get up, get out and get a job. You may recall that your
countrymen frequently said of our servicemen that they
were "overpaid, oversexed and over here." Apparently their
reputations followed them home. They, like the generation before
them, were changed. As the popular song asked, "How ya gonna keep
em down on the farm after they've seen Paree." Many wives who had
kept home and hearth in the absence of their husbands had become
pretty independent and within homes, the rules and roles of wives
had changed. Thanks to the G.I. Bill, most veterans were able to
buy homes with no money down, and good jobs and educational
opportunities were available, so they just got on with life. The
veteran's organizations here, the American Legion and the Veterans
of Foreign Wars, gave the men places to congregate and socialize.
His final comment to me was that the more distant those days become,
the more they are remembered as the best days of their lives. As to
Dresden and the other places destroyed during the war, he
said, "Hey, we didn't start it." That pretty well sums up what I
learned. I hope it helps.