Veteran Bernard Florence
Posted on March 21, 2014 by Katy Miller
My father, Bernard Florence, served in the U.S. Navy as a fighter pilot during World War II. He served proudly starting at the young age of 16 in the Pacific.
My father went on to earn two bachelor’s degrees and two master’s degrees, one in chemical engineering and the other in business. He graduated from Tufts, Notre Dame and Harvard University.
Bernard Florence was a compassionate, loving, sincere, happy and hard-working man who had great respect and love for his country, the United States.
My mom, Rivkah Florence, has a Ph.D in philosophy and education and is accomplished on subjects ranging from science, to literature and politics. Her idea of a pleasant afternoon is listening to the CDs I bring her on topics such as science, the brain, astronomy, etc.
After my father passed away, a Colonel from the USAF, dept. of the Air Force sent a condolence letter to my mom and enclosed the following poem to express the exhilaration a pilot feels when piloting their aircraft.
by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.
Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on Laughter-silvered
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tum'
Of sun-split clouds--and done a hundred
You have not dreamed of -- wheeled and
soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
UP, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the windswept heights with
where never lark, or even eagle flew.
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
— Fannie Goldsmith (Daughter of Atria Kew Gardens' resident, Rivkah Florence)