The night sky is a big place. So are 72 years. Neither was, nor is, sufficient for me to forget the night of 10-11 September 1942.
Matching the unbelievable enormity of exploding shells, bomb, and aircraft, the Thoughts, that also exploded and taxed my young brain that had been a history buff and bank clerk but was now trapped into the role of warrior, burned so deeply that night that they still remain inescapable.
A lone bullet can bring stark finality but my Wellington crew, in its Baptism of Fire, was engulfed that night in a prolonged and changing universe of exploding colour that made accurate navigation impossible. I had no quarrel with the people of Dusseldorf, nor they with me, so why were we trapped in a species where the few can dictate the actions of the many? Had we not already killed over 4 billion humans, not to mention animals, property destruction, and sheer misery in major wars over the past 12,000 years? I felt deep guilt as I pressed the bomb-release button while friends and foes alike perished. The huge palls of black smoke that welled up appeared to be belated attempts of Man trying to hide his crimes from the wrath of God.
This war, and all the others, did not produce the wisdom to allow mankind a peaceful experience of existence, the brief and only one we suspect we are allotted. How highly discouraging as we do possess no shortage of brilliant minds, flourishing in all avenues of human endeavour, but still inadequate to eradicate the Greed that tolerates harm to others, be it warfare, over-population, climate change, bigotry, or what-have-you?
Yet, we still hope and dream. I can feel Compassion welling up. May it become a flood that washes away the inhibitions that keep us from realizing our genetic differences are minor and desirable and that our survival demands we immediately tackle our problems of numbers, geography, education, and equality.