School buses parked in neat rows outside the Paclantic Flight 26 Memorial. An ever-popular field trip for middle-schoolers inside a 200-mile radius, the staff of knowledgeable docents, manicured grounds, and free admission never disappointed.
“Controlled Flight Into Terrain is when a capable aircraft is accidentally flown into the ground, a mountain, a body of water…that hillside in front of you.”
“Accidentally?” a kid asked.
“This particular aircraft, a DC-3, lost contact with the airport at night and was flying by compass alone. Airport lights were off due to the war but they should’ve been warned about the hill,” the docent continued.
“Any bodies still out there?”
A discussion ensued about the mass grave in town and the docent led the group to a display case full of artifacts.
“This prayer book belonged to the pilot and was found in the mud near the burning crater.”
“Lotta good it did him.” A chaperone collared the class clown and took him outside.
The tour ended, children boarded buses, and the tired docent retired to his office. Right behind him, the chaperone marched her class clown to the door to deliver an apology. She knocked and opened the door to an empty room.