I often listen to Dick Gordon's The Story as I'm driving home from work. It's one of the only things that makes my hideous commute through L.A. traffic bearable-- and it's an excellent reason to support public radio, if you don't already.
Last night, Gordon replayed an interview with Deanie Parrish. Deanie was a WASP (Women Air Force Service Pilot) during World War II. Last week, she and 175 of the remaining 1,100 WASPs belatedly received Congressional Gold Medals.
Her story, and the story of all the WASPs, moved me so deeply I cried on three different freeways. It also made me angry to my bones.
Deanie's story is the second one in this show-- it starts about half way through, after a less interesting story on how one winery was effected by the Chilean earthquake.
Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, and Clint Eastwood have made World War II into something of a cottage industry-- but their focus is consistently narrow, consistently male.
These women-- these pilots-- did something just as noble, just as selfless, just as worthy of note as the men and boys who fought in World War II. Their story is riveting, and their treatment both during and after the war by the country they proudly served is despicable.
Not that they ever complained. They didn't. They went on to lives as wives and mothers. Many of them, including Deanie Parrish, never flew again. For their service, they received virtually no acknowledgment.
Deanie Parrish says, "All we ever asked for is that our overlooked history would some day no longer be a missing chapter in the history of World War II, in the history of the Air Force, and most especially the history of America."
I agree, Deanie. Yours is a story that-- like Saving Private Ryan, Flags of Our Fathers, and Band of Brothers-- deserves be told.
Anybody know Kathryn Bigelow? Give her a call. She could direct the bejeezuz out of this movie. And if she won't, someone should.
Like the Congressional Gold Medal, it's long overdue.