Friday, May 27, 2011

American and Icelandic friends join to honor sacrifice

Last week, I had the honor to hike up Fagradall Mountain to lay a memorial wreath at the site where the plane carrying Lieutenant General Frank Andrews and thirteen other American servicemen crashed during bad weather on May 3, 1943. Lt. Gen. Andrews was the Commander of U.S. Forces in the European Theater of Operations at the time of his death and is widely considered to be the father of the modern U.S. Air Force.  It was moving to stand over the wreckage of the plane that took so many young and promising lives far away from their home.  The U.S. armed forces stationed in Iceland at that time were working with our Icelandic friends to ensure that critical war materials were safely delivered to our allies in Russia.  On his final mission, General Andrews was flying to Iceland to visit his forces.   I was especially touched by the participation of several Icelandic friends who thought it was important to join us on that hike.  I will never forget their gesture as it reminded me of the deep connections between Iceland and the United States.  These connections are worth preserving.