Tuesday, April 17

Marvels of History

In this era of Google Earth and the Discovery Channel it can be easy get the impression that there's nothing left on earth to discover. Compared to great explorers of the past and the vast untamed territories they conquered (or were swallowed by), a piece of us may sigh sadly that no such adventures remain for us except perhaps amongst the stars.

Spitfire photo from The Telegraph
And then History steps in with a gift: 20 WWII Spitfires, buried in Burma and discovered though the diligence and passion of one British farmer. Inspired by the single off-hand quote of a World War II vet, British farmer David Cundall began his own personal expedition to track down the lost Spitfire fighters that retreating British troops buried -tarred, waxed and perfectly preserved - in their shipping crates at an RAF base in Burma they were abandoning. More than 20 feet below the ground, the planes have waited patiently - and now they're headed home to Britain for restoration. If restorable, they will nearly double the number of flyable Spitfires remaining in the world - last pegged at about 35.

In the grand scheme of the world, this is only one small incident - many people will flip past it with barely an acknowledgement. But I think it should be so much more than that. It should be a reminder to those who long to pursue big dreams of the amazing things that can come of one ordinary person's dedicated pursuit of an idea.

I hope that Mr. Cundall does get to see his dream of these Spitfires, restored and organized into an exhibition team for air shows. The roar of engines and beauty of flight, coupled with the depth and awe of the story behind them could be a powerful inspiration to the next generation of fliers, explorers and dreamers the world over.

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