Tears And Gratitude As Two Second World War Veterans Meet And Remember Their Service

Phyllis Bowman, mayor of Greenwood, Florida felt as if she was seeing history being made. It was a meeting between two World War II veterans, Albert Lane and Cornelius Davis.

Mayor Bowman drove Mr. Lane to Blountstown and was an impassioned witness to the emotional hug and profound conversation between the two Air Force heroes.

Lane was a US Army Air Corps pilot during WWII and now lives in Jackson County, Florida. He survived many life threatening instances, but the time he thought he was closest to death, four Tuskegee Airmen came to his rescue and saved him from certain death.  As an enemy pilot locked his guns onto him and had him in his sights, the Tuskegee bombers miraculously appeared and started shooting all guns at the enemy pilot. They pursued the enemy attacker through the clouds and forced him out of sight.  Lane said if the Tuskegee bombers had not been so determined to fight off the enemy pilot, or if they had appeared three seconds later, he has no doubt he would have been killed.

The Tuskegee Airmen gained fame as America’s first African-American military aviators and made history as World WarII combat pilots.

Mr. Davis is a native of Calhoun County, Florida.  During World War II, he was a Tuskegee Airman assigned to a Tuskegee ground crew. When he left the military, he lived most of his adult life in places other than his native Calhoun County.  But during his retirement years, he came to live in his hometown for a while. He eventually moved to a different part of the state so he could be nearer his children. He comes back every now and then and still calls Calhoun County home. During the war, his job was arming the training aircraft of the Tuskegee Corps.

For years and years, Lane has said that he’d love to meet, shake hands, and hug the soldiers who shot at and chased away the German pilot who was only moments from shooting him down to certain death.

Lane hasn’t had an opportunity to meet the Tuskegee pilots yet, but it was a humbling moment as he felt honored to have hugged and talked with Cornelius Davis, a man that members of the community knew and put the two men in touch with each other.  Lane considered that Davis could have been the one who armed the aircraft that his guardian angels trained in before they flew off into the wild blue yonder and ultimately saved his life, jcfloridan.com reported.

As they talked about their own experiences during the war, Lane broke down in tears. Mayor Bowman said that it was a very moving scene, like nothing she has ever been witness to before.

To most, this was only a tiny moment in a small town. Whether the world will see this for its meaningful symbolic value; only time will tell.  But for the two veterans involved, it certainly mattered; it mattered a great deal!

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE