Loading...
BYH: Ok I'm working trying to get as close to 40 hrs as possible. A woman and a man come in seemly tryingto figure out...

A plaque for George H.W. Bush in Chapel Hill?

9780812979473.jpg
1 of 3
-1.jpg
DGMartin.jpg
Loading…

Sunday, December 9, 2018

“There should be an historic plaque in Chapel Hill honoring George Bush.”

On the day after the former president’s death, Chapel Hill lawyer and chair of the town’s historic district commission, Bob Epting, was making opening remarks at a public seminar on preserving historic spaces.

“I didn’t vote for him,” Epting said. “But I admired and loved him.”

Epting explained that during World War II, Bush and about 15,000 other prospective U.S. Navy pilots were part of a pre-flight training program at Chapel Hill. “It is a shame that there is no marker here for Bush and the others.”

In Jon Meacham’s 2015 best seller, “Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush,” the president’s time in Chapel Hill plays a short but very important role in his life.

When Bush turned 18 in 1942, he enlisted in the Navy and was sent to Chapel Hill for pre-flight training, which was according to Meacham, “a very shaping experience, a memorable experience.”

Perhaps even more important for Bush was the daylong visit to Chapel Hill of 17-year-old Barbara Pierce. Bush wrote his mother, “She looked too cute for words—really beautiful.”

Meacham writes, “They had a sandwich together and walked the campus, winding up at the university’s Kenan Memorial Stadium in a grove of pine trees about a mile away from the inn. A sudden storm drove them into the canvas-covered press box. ‘We laughed at everything,’ Bush wrote, grateful for the stolen hours.”

During that short visit their romance bloomed, leading to their marriage in January 1945.

Without the tough Chapel Hill training that prepared him for wartime service and without the tough Barbara Bush by his side, the “kinder and gentler” Bush might have spent his life in business in New York or New England like many of his Yale classmates.

With the closing of the Chapel Hill airport earlier this year an important physical reminder of Bush’s connection has been lost.

There are few other reminders of the pre-flight program and its contribution to the war effort, to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and to the town.

One fresh reminder is a new book by Anne Keene whose grandfather directed the program. Keene’s book focuses on the program’s connection to another set of American heroes.

“The Cloudbuster Nine: The Untold Story of Ted Williams and the Baseball Team that Helped Win WWII,” focuses on a group of major league baseball players like Williams, who trained in Chapel Hill and went on to fly combat aircraft during the war. They were heroes in the sky and on the baseball field.

While they were in Chapel Hill, Williams and other major league players such as Johnny Pesky and Johnny Sain were among a cadre of fighter-pilot cadets who played for a Navy team called the Cloudbuster Nine.

Keene asserts that the Cloudbuster Nine team was better than the New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals, the teams that faced each other in the 1943 World Series.

Bush and Williams were not the only famous names in the pre-flight training. Gerald Ford, John Glenn and Paul “Bear” Bryant took the training too.

That training was rigorous in the classroom, on the athletic fields, and in other tough physical and mental exercises. The curriculum was designed to get the future pilots in shape for combat and the challenges of survival should they be shot down in enemy territory.

Because the hard and effective training contributed significantly to the ultimate victory, it is fair to say that the war was won, at least in part, in Chapel Hill, and certainly should be commemorated.

A plaque like the one suggested by Bob Epting, could honor and remember not only Bush, but also Ford, Williams and the thousands of other pre-flight cadets.

D.G. Martin is a a retired lawyer, politician and university administrator and is host of UNC-TV’s “North Carolina Bookwatch,” which airs 11 a.m. Sundays and 5 p.m. Tuesdays on UNC-TV and 8 p.m. Tuesdays on the North Carolina Channel.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Look

January 16, 2019

Q I form oxalate stones. The only advice I had been given was to drink lots of water and I do drink about a gallon a day. A friend told me I should pay attention to the oxalate content of food. I really like grain products but have been told they might be giving me troubles. What do I need to know?…

Kolasa, Kathy

January 13, 2019

While I have been traveling up and down North Carolina’s roads in search of local eateries, UNC Law School professor Gene Nichol has been traveling the same roads looking for something else.

I was gathering material for my book, “North Carolina’s Roadside Eateries,” and…

DGMartin

January 13, 2019

The first mistake was opening the refrigerator door. I opened it silently, but it emits a silent sound unknown to science that only cats can hear. From under the bedcovers at the other end of the house. And they do not need to walk or run to the refrigerator to inspect what I'm doing. One second,…

JimMullen

January 11, 2019

As I write this review, it’s still up in the air whether Kevin Hart will host this year’s Academy Awards. He was picked because he’s funny, he’s a performer of color, and his star was on the ascendance.

But someone dug up old comments by Hart that were homophobic. The…

Upside

January 11, 2019

ARBA — Sybil Thomas is not your average “little old lady.”

Rather than bemoaning the aging process, she has walked right up to it, looked it dead in the eye and given it an impish wink.

Thomas celebrated her 100th birthday Dec. 30, surrounded by friends and family at Hull Road…

0109-sybil2.jpg

January 09, 2019

 

Q: I don’t think my mom ever used anything other than salt, pepper, and cinnamon to flavor food. She said it was silly and expensive to a container and then use only ¼ teaspoon. I am intrigued by the possibility that some herbs might be helpful in controlling inflammation. Can…

Kolasa, Kathy

January 06, 2019

It was in 1983 that parents told leaders of the Diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana, west of New Orleans, that Father Gilbert Gauthe had molested their sons.

Dominos started falling. The bishop offered secret settlements to nine families — but one refused to remain silent.

The rest is a long,…

Terry Mattingly

January 06, 2019

What really happened to Virginia Dare, the first child of English parents born in the New World? The same Virginia Dare whom I suggested recently belonged on “The World Almanac’s” list of famous North Carolinians.

A few weeks ago I wrote about Sir Walter Raleigh’s…

DGMartin.jpg

January 06, 2019

In a year filled with heightened political vitriol, two deaths brought the nation together to remember men who represented a seemingly bygone era of U.S. politics.

George H.W. Bush was a president, vice president, congressman, CIA director and Navy pilot during World War II, where he flew 58…

YE Deaths

January 05, 2019

For to make chireseye, tak chiryes at þe feast of Seynt Iohn þe Baptist, & do awey þe stonys …

— Hieatt, Constance B. and Sharon Butler. Curye on Inglish: English Culinary Manuscripts of the Fourteenth-Century (Including the Forme of Cury). New York: for The Early…

pruncaro.jpg
134 stories in Look. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 14
        Next Page»   Last Page»