Sunday, July 20, 2014

Please Build Me A Home - By Ken Hanson

Please Build Me A Home  - By Ken Hanson 

My story began in nineteen forty five,

Near the end of world war two,

If you’ll permit me a moment of your time,

I’d like to tell it to you.

I served in the navy for about twelve years,

Flying supplies around after the war,

Taking soldiers home who had done their time,

To resume the life they had before.

It’s been said though not officially,

I flew the Berlin airlift for about a year,

Helping oppressed people survive,

In the democracy we hold so dear.

After my navy stint I worked civil service,

Doing flight inspections for the F A A,

I was replaced by others younger and faster,

A job that continues to this day.

At age 40 I flew in airshows 10 years,

Helping recruit those eager young men,

The next generation to carry on a tradition,

Started long ago and ending who knows when.

In my 60’s I had yet another career,

Helping celebrate the centennial of flight,

Showing everyone just how far we’ve come,

Especially the children, much to their delight.

I’m retired now after many years of service,

As my seventh decade draws near,

I’m not used to having nothing to do,

After such a long and honorable career.

Like a lot of vets, I lived in government housing,

But it got too crowded with no room for me,

The decision was made to find me a new home,

Wherever that might be.

I feared I would go to Davis-Monthan,

A place old planes go to die,

They chop off their wings and turn ‘em to scrap,

It’s enough to make you cry.

Those that are sent there have no choice,

Decisions are made, they have no voice,

That’s not the end I wanted, for you see,

This tired old veteran is a Douglas DC-3!

N34 is the name they gave me,

During my time at the F A A,

You’d think after all these years,

There would be a place for me to stay.

Turns out someone does want me,

I can make it there if I really try,

The Texas Air and Space Museum,

In Amarillo, where it’s warm and dry.

That’s where my last flight took me,

A cool and crisp February day,

Nestled into a cozy warm hangar,

A good place to be on display.

I have a new job now in my new home,

One I can do for quite awhile,

I teach the children a lesson in history,

My pencil sharpener makes them smile.

Proud old veterans come to see me,

Sometimes with a tear in their eye,

They struggle uphill into my cockpit,

And look out the window seventeen feet high.

I bring back memories of their years of service,

Back when they were strong young men,

They may have bad knees and a cane,

But I can make them feel young again!

I share my new home with several others,

Short Fuse Sallee just an aileron away,

A shiny silver P51 Mustang,

Another proud veteran here on display.

A Bell 47 chopper is over by the wall,

On loan from the college maintenance school,

Bobby Speed’s Beercat is here too,

His Reno airspeed record is pretty cool.

There’s a fighter jet engine on a stand,

A hot air balloon that’s seen better days,

Four radial aircraft piston engines,

That make most interesting displays.

There’s two more planes outside of the hangar,

That we don’t have room for in here,

They are hot or cold or windblown or rained on,

Depending on the time of year.

There’s a De Havilland C7 Caribou transport,

Carrying men and supplies in the Viet Nam war,

And N946NA, a shuttle training aircraft,

Rare and unique, one of only four.

This Gulfstream G2 had an important mission,

Training astronauts how to come back home,

Rick Husband flew this plane the most,

A local boy made good, one of Amarillo’s own.

No amount of training would have made a difference,

When the shuttle came apart that day,

And seven brave astronauts, NASA’s best,

Lost their lives in that dramatic and tragic way.

Commander Rick Husband was in the left seat,

When he and his crew lost their lives,

Our airport is now named in his honor,

We mourn alongside their children and wives.

A plane like the shuttle trainer shouldn’t be outside,

It deserves a home in the hangar too,

But it’s big and we’re already crowded,

There’s only room for a few.

But our museum people are working on that,

We have a new home near runway four,

You could call it a real fixer upper,

Our small fleet will have room for many more.

The property used to be a grain elevator,

With eight large buildings on the site,

Grain storage buildings will make great hangars,

The location is perfect for a museum of flight.

Thirty eight thousand square feet in each,

Just one will give us a permanent home,

Our rented hangar space is OK for now,

But we need something we can call our own.

These buildings held grain for sixty years.

But moisture rusted out the metal skin,

Holes in the walls welcome mice and birds,

Those in the roof let rainwater in.

A new metal skin, insulation, and fire-proofing,

And a new airplane size hangar door,

Everything is so expensive these days,

Estimates say a million or more.

The donations we get as a non-profit museum,

Just barely pay our bills it seems,

We need corporate or private help,

If we are to realize our dreams.

Maybe a retired military aviator with the means,

Would like his name on a hangar someday,

You can’t take it with you when you’re gone,

Let us carry on your name in a meaningful way.

We need a person that needs a tax write-off,

Or a million people with a dollar to spare,

Change from your meal would mean a great deal,

We know there are people out there who care.

Please build me a home, that’s all that I ask,

Help the ones here first, and those who came after me

All I can give you is the everlasting gratitude,

Of this tired but grateful old DC3.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Brilliant!! You absolutely captured TASM & the heart there!