The missing man formation from the VE Day commemoration made me cry. It was haunting. It was beautiful. It stabbed into those hidden emotions. Later that day – May 8, 2015 – I was working, but I couldn’t forget that plane climbing away from the others. Grabbing a pencil and my little notepad, I wrote carefully and wiped away tears again.
If you’ve never seen the missing man formation performed, let me explain. A formation of vintage planes (usually four) flies into the flight area and about halfway through their route one of the planes climbs steeply upward and away from the others. It symbolizes a shot-down aircraft and a pilot who paid the ultimate price for freedom.
Today – Memorial Day – as I was considering what to share as we remember our fallen heroes, it seemed to be the time to share this short poem.
It’s a tribute to all our missing men and women who have defended the freedoms we cherish. We miss you. We see that you’re not there in the formation. We honor your sacrifice.
The Missing Man
I didn’t want to leave you,
But something higher called me
To touch the sky so blue
To let others freedom see.
And so I went and learned,
Became a team with the other men,
Fighting to free the oppressed and spurned.
Side by side – friend and friend.
Formation so close, seemed it couldn’t break.
Wing to wing, we conquered all.
I’ll fight for his and others’ sake.
Nothing it seemed could make these eagles fall.
Then something happened that day –
I had to go,
Leaving you in a fight, I went away –
Shot by a foe.
I didn’t want to go,
But Someone higher called me
Beyond the sky so blue,
The face of God to see.
Called upward by Divine plan…
I am the formation’s missing man.
Never forget the sacrifices. Never take your freedom for granted. Remember and honor those who have paid the ultimate price for liberty.
Have a Memorial Day filled with honor and gratitude.