It is March 9, 1945 when the B-17 of pilot Edward F. Logan, on its way from Austria to the base in Italy, is bombed and damaged to such an extent that he and his 9 crew members have to leave the aircraft. All 10 men manage to get to the ground safely with the help of a parachute, but they are being searced for by the Germans. Pilot Logan jumps last and lands in a tree not far from our house. The plane crashes on the field directly below our house. The crew is lucky. They are found and helped by Slovenian partisans who take them on a dangerous, multi-day hike to their base in Italy, where they finally arrive safely.
In 2006, the book that Logan wrote about his experiences during the war and the crash in Gradenc is published. It’s called »Jump, damn it, jump!« and can be ordered on the internet. More than 10 years later, this book is translated into Slovenian, and in honor of this translation, the municipality of Žužemberk has decided that a monument should be erected for the crew of the B-17, which bore the name »Je reviens«. It will be tackled on a grand scale and should become a big happening. On March 11, 2017, the time has come. Dozens of people have worked very hard to organize everything and the women in the village have baked many kilos of cookies and pastries for all the guests and visitors.
Ultimately, about 750 people will attend and there are also a number of high-ranking persons present. The then-mayor of Žužemberk, of course, but also the American ambassador to Slovenia and the Slovenian defense minister. It was a beautiful day. Many former partisans in their uniform played the accordion and sang old partisans songs, but also »new« uniforms were present. A stage had been built for the ceremony and after that, there was a party in the village where everyone could eat and drink for free.
An old bomber also flew over and a number of paratroopers were dropped. A big happening for our tiny little village :).
The monument was officially unveiled and road signs have been placed in the village so that visitors can find the monument. Lexi was asked to recite the lyrics to the John Lennon song »Imagine«, together with a classmate.
Pilot Logan was still alive in 2017 and was 94 years old at the time. Unfortunately, his weak constitution prevented him from traveling to Slovenia to attend the ceremony, which he would have liked very much. That is why a live connection was provided during the entire ceremony that he could follow at home, in America, that way. Unfortunately, I read on the Internet that he passed away last month, the 12th of February :(.
It was also decided that a small ceremony will be held every year from that day forward to commemorate this event and last Saturday it was that time again. Unfortunately, due to Corona, it became a very small commemoration with only 10 people, but it is nice that they keep doing this.
The only resident of Gradenc who saw the crash unfortunately died last year, but she was at the ceremony in 2017 and told how she was working on the field as an 8-year-old girl when she saw the plane come down. There are also fragments of the plane preserved that a number of residents had taken home with them after the crash. Pretty special, isn’t it? The monument itself is also very beautiful with all the crew members’ names on it. Every now and then we see some people from “outside” walking down to visit it. Especially the first year after the placement, people regularly came to Gradenc especially for this. It is a wonderful memory and ode to Logan and his crew.