COMMEMORATING DOWNING OF AMERICAN B-17 BOMBER “DARK EYES” IN ANDRAŽ NAD POLZELO, SLOVENIA .....the 25th anniversary of the United States’ diplomatic recognition of Slovenia. As we mark this occasion, we honor our past and embrace our future.
BigNews.Biz - Apr 12,2017 - REMARKS BY SASC CHAIRMAN JOHN McCAIN COMMEMORATING DOWNING OF AMERICAN B-17 BOMBER “DARK EYES” IN ANDRAŽ NAD POLZELO, SLOVENIA
Senator John McCain delivers remarks commemorating the lives of the American service members killed in the downing of the B-17 bomber “Dark Eyes” at Andraž nad Polzelo, Slovenia,
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, delivered the following remarks at a ceremony commemorating the American service members whose lives were lost in the downing of the American B-17 bomber “Dark Eyes” at Andraž nad Polzelo during World War II. Senator McCain was accompanied at the ceremony by Slovenian President Borut Pahor:
“Mister President, Madame Minister, Mister Mayor, Generals, dear friends: it is a great honor to be invited to join you here in Andraž to remember the service and sacrifice of ten brave Americans, and to celebrate the enduring bond of friendship between the United States and Slovenia that is their legacy.
“They were the crew of ‘Dark Eyes,’ an American B-17 bomber that flew 80 missions during the Second World War in the skies above occupied France, fascist Italy, and Nazi Germany. By now, the story of ‘Dark Eyes’ and her crew is familiar to many of you. On March 19, 1944—on her way to attack a Nazi supply plant in Austria—‘Dark Eyes’ was shot down by German fighters, and crashed here among these beautiful hills. Eight of the crew lost their lives that day. Two others spent the remainder of the war in a prisoner-of-war camp.
“Many of you also know that ‘Dark Eyes’ was not the only American aircraft shot down over Slovenia. There was also ‘Je Reviens’, another B-17 whose crew parachuted into Slovenia and were fortunate to be discovered by a friendly Partisan. The American crew followed their new Slovenian comrade, who led them on a five-day journey through enemy territory to safety.
“It is that spirit of Slovenian generosity that brings us here, to this memorial erected by the citizens of this town. I am sure that the families of the ‘Dark Eyes’ crew take great comfort in knowing that the memory of their loved ones lives on in this place. And for the honor and respect shown to these brave heroes, I know the people of this town and the people of this country have the heartfelt thanks of all Americans.
“This memorial is not only a tribute to the sacrifice of heroes, but a monument to the cause of freedom for which they fought…the cause of freedom for which the United States and Slovenia fight for and defend today in Europe and around the world.
“Yes, the friendship between the United States and Slovenia was forged in the crucible of world war. It was strengthened further in the Cold War through U.S. support to the former Yugoslavia as it defended itself in the darkest days of the Stalin era. And in the last quarter century, our friendship was solidified as Slovenia achieved its independence,