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#4454695 - 12/24/18 09:59 AM A Story for the Season, (my traditional OFF/WOFF Christmas post)  
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 3,095
RAF_Louvert Offline
BOC President; Pilot Extraordinaire; Humble Man
RAF_Louvert  Offline
BOC President; Pilot Extraordinaire; Humble Man
Senior Member

Joined: May 2012
Posts: 3,095
L'Etoile du Nord
.

"A Story for the Season"

1916: Christmas Eve at the Front. The War has dragged itself along on its steely, mud-caked claws for over two years, and the end seems no closer now than when it all began. At an RFC aerodrome not ten miles from the first line trenches, a group of airmen sit through the morning’s briefing, and prepare themselves for the day’s work. They are nearly all young men, at least in years. But with war comes age beyond a calendar’s mark, and one would find that each man is far older than first appearance would tell if a moment were taken to look into his eyes. As the meeting breaks the jovial banter can be heard amongst the group: the good-natured ribbing and warnings, the verbal jousting, the camaraderie and the closeness that bonds souls together in such tenuous and temporary times. Across the mud at a German aerodrome, a similar scene is being played out. The Jagdstaffel pilots there are also preparing themselves for the task at hand. To look at them, you might imagine they were schoolmates of their British counterparts, rather than enemies soon to be locked in mortal combat. For they too laugh and joke, and share that same bond. And they too are of the "old young".

The hour is at hand. On each side the signal is given and the small, fast scout planes skim along the cold, icy ground, and one by one lift into a winter sky as grey as the earth below. They form up, and after climbing to their prescribed altitudes, they head towards No Man’s Land and on to do their best; for King and Country; für Kaiser und Vaterland. They meet, and there is the initial gun pass as each sizes up the other. A few moments later and the aerial battle begins in earnest. To those in the fight it is a mind-numbing blur of action that runs in both accelerated and slow motion simultaneously. A split second given to pull the trigger as a plane zips across the sights: an eternity spent to try and twist out of the path of the bullets. An entire lifetime won or lost in less than an eye blink. To those on the ground it appears as a graceful ballet of the sky, the canvas-feathered birds turning and rolling and climbing and diving. But it is a dance to the death more often than not, and it will end when one or more has fallen.

And one has fallen. The long, slow, spiraling pirouette as the finale comes to the dance. The others have now tired and as if by mutual agreement or unseen signal the partners separate and turn away. The audience below does not understand how it can be over so quickly. They cannot see the fatigue and exhaustion of those in the air; cannot see their battered ships, or their bruised and aching bodies; or their tired, aging eyes. No, they can see none of these things, any more than the men in the air can see the pain or the agony endured by those who must fight on the ground. Each sees the other from afar, as through a glass darkly. It is an irony of war that in each case, either in the Sky or on the Earth, a man better understands and is more akin to the enemy he fights in his realm than to his own countrymen above or below.


Christmas Eve at the Front. Night has fallen and the pilots sit about the dinner table at their respective aerodromes, and talk of flying and fighting, and of family and friends. Wishes of the Season are shared, letters from home are read. Songs of hope are sung and toasts are made to fellow flyers, and to mothers and sweethearts. At one of the tables an empty chair stands in remembrance of the comrade lost that day, and to whom the final toast is made. He will be missed, and to a loved one back home he will forever be a young man with bright, happy eyes; forever a photograph, a memory of a life that could have been. It matters not which side he fought for. He was a man, a part of human kind, and with his passing we are all the lesser for it.

.

May you have safe and blessed holidays wherever you are, and may we each remember the true message of this season: Peace on earth, good will toward men.




[Linked Image]

#4454697 - 12/24/18 10:21 AM Re: A Story for the Season, (my traditional OFF/WOFF Christmas post) [Re: RAF_Louvert]  
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 1,657
Hasse Offline
Member
Hasse  Offline
Member

Joined: May 2012
Posts: 1,657
I was already waiting for this traditional post. cheers

Merry Christmas everybody! CT


"Upon my word I've had as much excitement on a car as in the air, especially since the R.F.C. have had women drivers."

James McCudden, Five Years in the Royal Flying Corps
#4454699 - 12/24/18 10:32 AM Re: A Story for the Season, (my traditional OFF/WOFF Christmas post) [Re: RAF_Louvert]  
Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 636
Ace_Pilto Offline
Livestreamer/YouTuber
Ace_Pilto  Offline
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Sector ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha
Merry Yule to Ya'll an yer'n.



Let's pretend I got the BWOC badge to embed here.

Wenn ihr sieg im deine Kampf selbst gegen, wirst schwer wie stahl sein.
#4454701 - 12/24/18 10:47 AM Re: A Story for the Season, (my traditional OFF/WOFF Christmas post) [Re: RAF_Louvert]  
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 30
jakethescot1 Offline
Junior Member
jakethescot1  Offline
Junior Member

Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 30
That is a good read. Thank you so much for posting.
Merry Christmas to you and to all the rest here at WOFF. Blue skies in 2019.

#4454739 - 12/24/18 03:47 PM Re: A Story for the Season, (my traditional OFF/WOFF Christmas post) [Re: RAF_Louvert]  
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 182
Mr_Dirt Offline
Member
Mr_Dirt  Offline
Member

Joined: May 2012
Posts: 182
Missouri USA
As usual a masterfully written piece by you Lou. This has become a Christmas staple for me, I always enjoy your written pieces. May you and yours find a joyous Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year. May this Earth of ours finally find the Peace it so desperately needs. Merry Christmas to all!
Thanks John

#4454755 - 12/24/18 05:04 PM Re: A Story for the Season, (my traditional OFF/WOFF Christmas post) [Re: RAF_Louvert]  
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 1,117
lederhosen Offline
Member
lederhosen  Offline
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Joined: May 2012
Posts: 1,117
Germany
danke


make mistakes and learn from them

I5 4440 3.1Ghz, Asrock B85m Pro3, Gtx 1060 3GB
#4454774 - 12/24/18 06:56 PM Re: A Story for the Season, (my traditional OFF/WOFF Christmas post) [Re: RAF_Louvert]  
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 846
HumanDrone Offline
Just shoot me...
HumanDrone  Offline
Just shoot me...
Member

Joined: May 2012
Posts: 846
Near Pittsburgh, PA USA
Gets me every time... hang on, I think It have something in my eye... Geeze it's dusty in here...

Merry Christmas one and all! The Peace of Christ to you and all yours!


Box: Win7 Pro 64 bit / I72600K @4.1 GHz / EVGA GTX580 OC'd / 16GB RAM / Corsair 240 GB SSD / WD 600 GB Velociraptor / 1050W Power
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Sims: FSX Gold, REX 2.0 OD, UTX-NA, FSGenesis 10m mesh/ CFS3 ETO 1.40/Wings Over Flanders Fields Ultimate Edition (more gorgeous than ever!)
Proud BOC inductee 4/30/12!
#4454775 - 12/24/18 07:15 PM Re: A Story for the Season, (my traditional OFF/WOFF Christmas post) [Re: RAF_Louvert]  
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 2,313
MFair Offline
Member
MFair  Offline
Member

Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 2,313
Merry Christmas to all my fellow WOFFers. Thanks for the post Lou.


Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear or a fool from either end.
BOC Member since....I can't remember!
#4454787 - 12/24/18 10:00 PM Re: A Story for the Season, (my traditional OFF/WOFF Christmas post) [Re: RAF_Louvert]  
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 7,070
DukeIronHand Online grunt
Hotshot
DukeIronHand  Online Grunt
Hotshot

Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 7,070
High over the Front
Merry Christmas to all.

#4454801 - 12/24/18 11:16 PM Re: A Story for the Season, (my traditional OFF/WOFF Christmas post) [Re: RAF_Louvert]  
Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 634
Maeran Offline
Member
Maeran  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 634
UK
Thank you Lou for continuing this great Christmas tradition. A happy Christmas to one and all and good flying!

#4454857 - 12/25/18 12:42 PM Re: A Story for the Season, (my traditional OFF/WOFF Christmas post) [Re: RAF_Louvert]  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 590
Shredward Offline
Member
Shredward  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 590
Lake Louise, AB Canada
At the going down of the sun
And in the morning
We will remember them


Merry Christmas one and all
shredward


We will remember them.
#4455281 - 12/29/18 08:57 PM Re: A Story for the Season, (my traditional OFF/WOFF Christmas post) [Re: RAF_Louvert]  
Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 474
Nowi Offline
Member
Nowi  Offline
Member

Joined: Jan 2014
Posts: 474
Florida
Belated Merry Christmas!


Nowi

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