December 7, 1941, a day that will live in infamy. So said the President of the day, and the next day the U.S. declared war.
So as we remember that horrible day, this might be a good time to read a feel-good story coming from the ending days of the war. Dailymail.co.uk tells the story in A stricken Allied bomber, the German ace sent to shoot it down and a truly awe inspiring story of wartime chivalry.
The short version is that the crew in a bullet riddled B-17 was trying to get back to Britain after a bombing run over Germany. The plane was badly damaged by German fighters, and as it plunged toward the ground, the German pilots left it for dead. But the B-17 pilot was able to level off and maintain a speed barely above stall speed. As they limped toward the English Channel they spotted a lone Me109 headed for them. As the German pilot approached the B-17 he couldn't help but notice how badly it was damaged. But somehow it was still flying, and the German decided today was not these Americans' day to die.
He escorted them so the German ground anti-aircraft gunners would not shoot. But eventually the nervous Americans angled their one remaining gun toward the German plane, so the German saluted, wished them auf wiedersehen, and flew back to his own base. He expected to be met by the SS for having let an American bomber escape, but to his relief no one on his side found out. Decades later the two pilots met in person in what must have been one heck of a reunion.
Click the link to read the full story.