Revelations on a Bomb Run

Jordan, Lloyd


  • Lloyd Jordan explains why he believes man is imperishable and the importance of children to peace and happiness in the future.
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And now, This I Believe. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Understanding sometimes comes to us with the suddenness of a shell burst. Such was the experience of Captain Lloyd Jordan, a flyer decorated for bravery in World War Two. Today he pilots an eastern airliner between Miami, New York and Chicago. He lives, when not flying, with his family on Key Biscayne, a little island off the Florida coast. Here is his story of belief.
One day while piloting a bomber through the war skies of Europe, I came to believe in the immortality of man. There was not any melodrama attached to this awakening. Only through the thousand details of a mind absorbed in a bomb run came the discovery of a single fact: "Know ye the truth, and the truth shall make ye free."
Below me were the Alps, and the vision of Hannibal crossing them in his time of war flashed through my mind, followed in rapid succession by the remembrance of all the histories of wars. I looked at the bomber machinery about me and at the battle signs of destruction below and realized this was only one of the thousands of wars man has been engaged in, and still he has flourished. So then, like the warm sun and friendly heaven and God's other features about me, man, too, must be permanent.
The warmth that came into the subzero cockpit with this divine realization made me know that here, at least for me, was the key to a happiness which had been missing before. The feeling of a day-to-day existence without hope for the tomorrow, changed to a sense of security and the knowledge of having a future. With this truth in mind, one cannot help but try to make a better world to live in.
This awakening came late to me, but with my children it will not be left to happenstance, for I have long since begun to show them the tying in of man's immortality with the ageless evidences which are everywhere about us: the great artist's glorious paintings of the heavens at sunrise and sunset; the delicate fragrance of a rose; the simple miracle of a newly born lamb; the massive majesty of snowcapped, purple mountains; the mysterious, many-faced sea hiding a thousand other worlds beneath its cloak; the twinkling lights from stars a billion miles away. They have learned these things are of God and are immortal, just as the music and the paintings of the old masters are God-given and ageless.
"But Daddy," they have asked me, "the papers say the Atom Bomb will kill off the human race someday, is that so?" How certainly I can assure them now, believing in the imperishability of man as I do. People said that when the spear came into existence, and the bow and arrow, and guns and bullets, and planes and bombs. But there has been someone more powerful than all these forces, and so we are here today, greater in number, healthier in body, and more advanced in science and learning than ever.
Have patience with all this hysteria, I tell them. After all, mankind is only a youngster, like one of you. The Earth is an unknown millions of years old, while man is a mere 6,000 years of age. Mankind is still growing up, comparatively, and his growth can be likened to your own. It's like you and the neighboring children who have words and fight. Someone gets a black eye, but you make up
and then you work and play together again, and as you grow more mature you fight less often because you become more intelligent. So will it be with the world.
In giving these simple facts to my children, I continually add to my own faith in mankind. I believe man is basically good in heart, spiritually indestructible, and his place in the sun is assured because he is in God's image. I believe all these things, sincerely; but more important, my children believe them, for it is they who hold the combination to man's future peace and happiness.
We observed that Lloyd Jordan, an airlines pilot whose voice you've just heard, lived on a Florida island. We're obliged to add that he's kept close to the problems of life.