A dowend plane, a Dutch village and the art of remembering. How one community has kept alive of eight American airmen for 75 year.
The village of Opijnen (oh-PIE-nin) in the Netherlands is a farming community where grazing sheep, cows and goats outnumber people (population around 1,200), and cars have to move to the side of the narrow roads for tractors coming in the opposite direction. There are no stores and one church, which discreetly tolls the hour. It’s therefore hard to imagine how shocking it must have been 75 years ago when the town’s slow, ancient, chthonic rhythms were surreally interrupted by a thunderous explosion. On July 30, 1943, an American B-17F bomber, heading home to its base in England after a raid over Kassel, Germany, was shot down and crashed in a local field. Villagers looked up to see men falling out of the sky.