Sean Crotty ’84 writes:

I was a pilot in the USAF and now fly internationally for World Airways – carrying troops mostly too and from the sand box. Some of the spots I’ve visited and written about are:

Hiroshima – met the pilot of the Enola Gay at a hunting lodge – then flew over Hiroshima on the 50th anniversary – and happened to be there for the 63rd anniversary – where by I took a picture of a ‘crane’ on top of the gratings of the old industrial building – the only building left standing after the blast – The crane is the symbol of peace in some Asian cultures.

American Cemetery at Normandy – drove all night from Ramstein AB in Germany where I was flying C-141’s to pay tribute to our troops on the first day of 2000 – figured of all the places I’d like to be to ring in that particular New Year it was that cemetery. Without really planning on it I became the first visitor for the next 1000 years when a Marine Major tapped on my window to wake me up as I was sleeping in my rental car in the parking lot. Once he found out I was an American Service member he ushered me in as the first visitor so I’d be number one in the book. I played my penny whistle in the fog and as I walked out of one of the tombs a hundred or so p eople had gathered all around me without me knowing until I came out – I had been playing amazing grace and some old celtic sad songs – they were all crying which made me start to cry – a very personal and powerful day.

Visited the first “church” in Christendom – the cave church of St. Peter in the old Turkish city of Antioch – past the area where Alexander the Great had chased the Persians back over the mountains – walked a Templer Fort – and then visited the cave on Christmas night – The place was totally locked up and I sat on the cold limestone looking out at the smoky night sky of a very old city – while listening to the Muslim call to prayer – alone – at a place where Saint Peter had preached a few years after the death of Christ. Even as an agnostic it was a very powerful night.

Spelunking in a Saudi Cave while deployed after the first Gulf War in Riyad – almost getting my big ex full back butt stuck about two miles down – finding some old prehistoric sharks teeth and gypsum crystals – and then getting stopped by Saudi Security guards because my navigator of all things had turned the wrong way on the freeway while heading back to our hootch. We had gotten to close to the Holy cities of Mecca and Medina as non-believers – not a good thing.

Anyway just thought it might be fun for people to read not only about where I’ve been but how those places have impacted my thoughts on the world as a whole and our place in it as Americans.

Agreed. We are always interested to read about the experiences and thoughts of our fellow Ephs. Many paths lead from the Purple Valley. Tell us about the one you are walking.

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