by Lindsay's Dad February 19, 2011
I called Al Rice about 9:30 AM and asked if he would call Capt. Whitehead (Lee to the rest of us) and arrange to accompany Lee to the EAA1418 meeting at the Rohnerville Airport. Al called Lee and then drove up to Lee's house and accompanied the 93 year old Capt. Lee Whitehead, not by being in Lee's truck with him, but by following Lee on his motorcycle!
When Lindsay and I got home after a most stimulating EAA1418 monthly meeting, I reminisced about Linz meeting Lee for the first time three years ago and how Lee offered to take Linz up in his T-6 and teach her how to fly his legendary plane. We talked about Lee's steadfast, near obsessive love of life, and especially his certifiable love and obsession with flying.
I commented that it is pretty amazing that a 92 year old man was still flying his WWII trainer, and that it was also pretty amazing that a 93 year old man was still driving his big-ass Ponci Turbo equipped 3500 Dodge Ram truck, and that a whole lot of people are prepared to, and do regularly sit in the right seat. I told my daughter that I do not expect to accomplish the same feat by any stretch of the imagination. I told Linz how Al described to me the excitement of flying in Lee's airplane just three years ago, and how he readied himself by deciding that he "wasn't supposed to die that day". He could trust Lee, and he did trust Lee. Lee had flown so many, many planes, and Lee had never scratched one. Lee had never hurt a soul. Lee is good at what Lee does. The odds were in Al's favor.
And my 16 year old daughter said "I would go with Lee right now."
And I said "So would I."
If there is a greater testament to a human life, I don't know what it could be. Heroes come in a rainbow of colors.