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News :: The silent tribute to a fallen hero during the Vinton Cruise
· 10:09pm July 20th, 2014
Silently standing in the middle of the lawn of the Benton County Courthouse, surrounded by hundreds of area residents admiring a variety of classic and antique cars, Old Glory flapped in the July wind at half-staff, beckoning the car-lovers to stop for a moment to ask why.
All over Iowa this week, flags assumed the lower position to reflect mourning and respect for a man who died serving his country, and a story much older than most of the cars that surrounded the courthouse.
Iowa airman Robert Howard is finally home.
Staff Sgt. Howard was buried in Moulton, Iowa, just north of the Missouri border, on the same day as the cruise, 69 years after his B-26 was shot down over Germany on April 16, 1945 -- just 22 days before the end of the war in Europe.
The U.S. military describes how Sgt. Howard gave his life for his country:
A member of the 450th Bomber Squadron, 322nd Bomber Group, Medium, 9th Air Force, U.S. Army Air Corps, Sgt. Howard was last seen April 16, 1945. On that date, three aircraft were flying in a formation on a bombing raid to Wittenberg,Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, when the pilots of two other aircraft reported seeing Howard and Kittredge’s aircraft hit by enemy fire. The B-26B descended into a deep dive and exploded upon ground impact.
In 2007, a German aircraft researcher interviewed eyewitnesses, who reported seeing two deceased crew members buried near the crash site under an apple tree. He also reported the crew members as being exhumed in 1947 or 1948, by an allied recovery team.
The ongoing effort to find and recover the remains of American service personnel finally led to the recovery of Howard’s body in Germany. His four surviving siblings were finally able to say good-bye.
Read more of Howard’s story below, and do him a favor: The next time you see a flag flying at half-staff, ask why, and for whom.
Cruise participants arrive; many browsing hundreds of unique cars
Flower Show! County residents invited to bring their favorites to fair