Phil was a member of the "greatest generation" and served in Europe during World War II. Based in Italy, he flew many combat missions as a waist gunner in a B17. These included bombing missions near Berlin and numerous other places. Over the course of his service, he saw his companions in other planes shot down and lost, had his own plane nearly shot down, and often returned from missions with the plane so damaged it barely flew - one time even having an engine fall off on landing. Fortunately he was never wounded physically but, like all the rest who served, he has had to live and cope with the memories and the horror of it all ever since. Only in recent years has he been able to talk much about it.
At the end of each mission they were served coffee and, to Phil, that came to signify the comfort of a safe return. To this day you will rarely find him without a cup of coffee in his hand or close by.
We all owe Phil and all the others who served in that war a debt of gratitude for what they did. Except for them, our lives would not be anywhere near what they are today and we owe them all the thanks.
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