Everybody Loved Jimmy
This afternoon as Lady B and I left North Hobbs and turned south onto Lovington Highway from Kansas Avenue, after making sure no 65 or 70 mile an hour drivers were zooming down the highway from Lovington, I raised and waved my hand and yelled "Hi Jimmy."
Lady B smiled as usual as she gazed upon the group of men in the field just off the big highway. The guys I waved at in the field didn't wave back. They've been standing there for a bit over a year now, standing at the ready beside a huge bomber, a simulated relic of one of the BEST of United States' most feared weapons of war, the B-17.
Who among you remembers Jimmy Stewart of the last century? Oldsters will, young'uns won't most likely, other than hearing the oldsters mention him or seeing an old movie. He was among the BEST of the last century's movie actors.
But I and veterans like me remember Jimmy Stewart as more than an actor in the movies. We remember him as a MILITARY man.
When I wave at the men standing beside the B-17 bomber just off the Lovington Highway, I pretend that I'm waving at Jimmy Stewart, who for a short period in the early 1940s, was a resident of Hobbs, New Mexico, my adoptive home.
If you don't know why he was here - listen up. Jimmy Stewert trained here at one if the (then) Army Air Force's BEST training schools for pilots, navigators and bombardiers.
He was trained here in the operations of the B-17 bomber and later in World War II became well-known as he experienced the horrors and then the winning of World War II.
I was not here when he was at the Hobbs Army Air Field, being occupied at the time on Army duty in England. Lady B and her sisters lived here.
Lady B says none ever met him, although one sister actually worked on the base as a telephone operator. Just maybe that sister heard his voice on occasion if he made a call.
Of course, it's not Jimmy Stewart standing behind that B-17 just off the highway. There's a group of men, all lifesize iron figures, standing before a lifesize iron sculpture of a B-17.
A local man who has sculpted a number of memorials in the area, planned several years ago to memorialize the former bomber training base by putting a B-17 on view on the actual airfield of long ago.
The memorial is approximately 40 feet long and nearly 16 feet high, the men are six-footers
The City of Hobbs donated the land for the plane and crew sculpture and labor to prepare the site. At some future time, as the economy of the age improves, the city hopes to put lighting on the plane so that nighttime travelers may also view the memorial.
I don't mind that none of he B-17 crew waves back. As a veteran who appreciates the result of what all the men of WWII did, I'm happy to salute the iron men who represent the BEST air force in the world.
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