Job Description

I am not a particularly fabulous flier.  I like the idea of flying, of soaring over the earth, white puffy clouds all around, but the reality of being in an overheated metal box, way too high above the ground, always does me in.  After September 11th, I never wanted to fly again.  I have a vivid imagination, like most writers, and was able to conjure up very unpleasant scenarios.

Then I read an article about the people who got back in a plane in the days and weeks immediately following.  One person pointed out that during World War II, every single pilot who went up did so knowing they would be shot at — it was simply part of the job. “If they could get back in a plane day after day facing that, I can get over my coddled self long enough to sit my butt in a plane and get to Houston,” was the gist of the rest of the quote.  It put flying back into perspective.

As we celebrate Memorial Day this weekend, in between the trips to the beach, the parades and the barbecues, I’ll be thinking of those pilots, of their bravery, and of all the other men and women who served and didn’t make it back to share these simple pleasures.  And when I look around at my kids, I’ll be remembering the families of those military members, and wishing “not coming home” wasn’t a part of anyone’s job description.

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Liz Michalski


  1. Vaughn Roycroft on May 27, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Amen, Liz. I’ve been as guilty as anyone of occasionally forgetting the real meaning behind this holiday. Thanks for the reminder.

    • liz on May 30, 2011 at 9:15 pm

      We tried to attend our local Memorial Day parade, but it was rained out. Instead we watched the flag ceremony take place in the rain. I hope the weather was better for you, Vaughn!

  2. Rosemary on May 27, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    Oh Liz, I’m right there with you about flying–and about the real meaning of this day.

    The last time my family and I visited the Air and Space museum in D.C., a couple of WWII vets talked to groups about their experiences. One shared the story of a 15 year-old who had lied about his age to enlist in the Air Force, and flew dozens of combat missions. My youngest was exactly 15 at the time, and we just shook our heads in wonderment at such bravery.

    My cousin is currently a fighter pilot and has done tours in the Middle East. No matter the politics of the war(s), we owe a real debt to these young men and women.

    Thanks for posting this!

    • liz on May 30, 2011 at 9:14 pm

      Wow, Rosemary – that is an amazing story about the 15-year-old. I can’t even imagine.

      My fingers are crossed for a safe return for your cousin — and I agree with you, no matter what the politics of the war, I am grateful to those who serve.

  3. Patry on June 2, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    Beautiful post, Liz.

  4. Linda on June 3, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    Thank you for remembering the military personnel and their families!

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