Two unique pieces of Jefferson City history were recalled this past weekend by a visit to uptown Jefferson City on Saturday at high noon: the autumn gathering in the Governor's Garden; a stroll down High Street to visit Jim Dyke's Cottonstone Gallery to talk about the crash of the B-17, a historic WWII aircraft, and its relevance to Jefferson City residents.
First, I got to visit with the Mansion's docents and their executive director of the Mansion Preservation Foundation, Rebecca Gordon. She shared with us the details of the new painting being commissioned to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Missouri Governor's Mansion in 2021. It should be a fabulous addition to the ongoing interior refurbishment.
Then it was on to Cottonstone Gallery to talk to Jim Dyke. Jim and I had spoken earlier in the week about the tragic B-17 aircraft crash in Connecticut. We wanted to continue our discussion on the coincidence of that same plane visiting Jefferson City's Memorial Airport in July 2011, that the News Tribune's photographer Julie Smith covered so well.
Jim wasn't in, but visiting the gallery is always an inspirational experience. On the wall was the image of Jim's newspaper piece "Not All is Fair in Love and War." It was the amazing story of an Army Air Force master sergeant Gerald Massie, B-17 reconnaissance photographer, who after the war would become Jefferson City's and the State of Missouri's greatest photographer. In 1944, he was able to walk away from a similar B-17 crash a hero.
I went home and found there was also a hero in the Oct. 2 crash — an Air Force National Guard chief master sergeant, who was also a fireman. Though he was there to take the flight that day, he brought along his Air Force issue fire retardant gloves. Even though injured, his "Fireman's Hands" and instincts saved lives that day as he helped several passengers escape the rear of the airplane.
In summary, for me it was a good start to National Newspaper Week in America to have the opportunity to write a letter to the editor. Always enjoy reading and absorbing newspaper articles that record a little history that happens every day in the City of Thomas Jefferson!