Monday, May 29, 2017

A Memorial Day Tribute To My Late Uncle Noel Ballew For My Cousin Ballinda Ballew Hickman

I could not leave Memorial Day without sharing some thoughts on your dad. He was never a macho man or someone who we would call a hero. But he acted like a hero, As a very young man he left the comforts of his home in 1940 and went to fight a terrible tyranny. He had principles. He had courage. He had ideals. After brief training in some RAF flight school, he was assigned to either a squadron of Spitfires or Hurricanes. All of a sudden he found himself up against the best and the toughest Nazi Air Force pilots who had years of experience in combat starting in the 1930's in Spain. Many of my older friends with great knowledge of World War II history marvel that he survived this ordeal.

For many years our congressman out here was a man named Tom Lantos. In 1944, he was a Jewish teenager living in Budapest. The Nazis picked him up and hauled him off to a concentration camp. He was now facing death in the gas chamber. Tom did something amazing and escaped. He evaded the Nazis and ended up in California. He earned his PhD in economics at the University of California Berkeley. He went on to serve over 20 years as our congressman. Tom became a dear friend of mine. When I would go to see him in his office, he would take me into the conference room. A secretary would bring a tray with china cups and plates. Great coffee and pastries would be served. Then his aerospace adviser would join us. He was an older gentleman who had served in the RAF in World War II. He flew flying boats.

Both of these men loved to hear the story of your dad time and again. The ex-RAF man said that your dad was lucky to have been shot down over France in 1944 as it probably saved his life.

Let us never forget your dad's memory!!!!

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