August 23, 2009
Friends die. It's a fact and we know it's going to happen sooner or later. But, it's never easy to accept. I've recorded several deaths in this journal. Nevertheless, the passing of Ed Olson on August 15 brings it home to me in a special way.
Our friendship had two phases. The first began on February 5, 1954 when we huddled together with Ed Fox on Alaska's Kesugi Ridge after being dumped from a disintegrating Air Force C-47. That bonding experience continued during our hospital stay. Then, we went our separate ways for many years.
The second phase began in 1996 when the six survivors of the C-47 crash decided to get together for a reunion. That led to other reunions, visits, and unbroken communication with the survivors bonding in a more mature and meaningful way.
I wrote in this journal last fall about the trip to Elkader that Millie and I took to visit with the Olsons. I'm glad we made that trip, for it was the last time we would see Ed. His health declined all this spring and summer. Millie and I were in West Virginia visiting relatives when Melissa, Ed's daughter informed us of his death. We drove to Elkader again, this time to attend a celebration of his life.
Ed Olson's life was one of service. The people of Elkader, Iowa turned out to show their love and appreciation. Millie summed it up pretty well when she said, "Ed made good use of his second chance."
I thought some of you would want to see the following: