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Old 05-30-2012, 08:03 AM
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Play The Man Play The Man is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 2,265

"He's a young kid. He's a young kid and he's going to need a lot of guidance,"
Jon Jones is 24 years-old. I happened to stumble across this article about another 24 year-old; however, I don't think I would call Donald Arthur Wilhelm a "young kid" . . . I think "man" is a better description.

He died a hero, and an enigma.

When the American pilot at the controls of a P-47 fighter plane crashed to earth near a small French village in September 1944, the villagers who pulled him from the burning wreckage of his aircraft knew just one thing.

He had given his life for them.

And so they buried him in a rural churchyard, beneath a cross and ribbon that bore the words "Our Liberator."

Across the ocean in Buffalo, Donald Arthur Wilhelm was mourned privately by those who knew him best, including his devasted parents and his only brother.

Over the next 68 years, he was largely forgotten by the rest of the world.

Now, all that is changing.

This spring, people from the little French village where Wilhelm died on the morning of Sept. 1, 1944, as a fighter-pilot of the World War II front in Europe are reaching out to Western New York.

These French citizens want to learn more about the young man whose death a few weeks shy of his 25th birthday they still consider a moment of bravery and sacrifice, nearly seven decades later.
"Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man! We shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out."
--Hugh Latimer, October 16, 1555
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