Supernatural Selection: How Religion Evolved

By Matt J. Rossano | Go to book overview

1
Natural Relationships and
Supernatural Relationships

Honoring the Dead

In April 2008, the phone rang at the home of Howard Enoch III. It was the U.S. Army. Howard’s father would finally be coming home. Sixty-three years earlier, in the waning days of World War II, Second Lieutenant Howard “Cliff” Enoch Jr. climbed into his P-51D Mustang fighter for a mission over Halle, Germany. He never returned. When the Iron Curtain enveloped the site where Enoch’s plane went down, the army declared his remains “unrecoverable.” But dedicated members of the U.S. Army’s Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command refused to give up on Cliff Enoch. In 2004, their review of crash sites in the former East Germany revealed suspicious plane fragments near the village of Doberschutz. Two years later, an onsite excavation team found what appeared to be human remains. The remains were flown to a laboratory in Hawaii for DNA analysis while the army continued to study the crash-site evidence. In the end it led to the phone call—and a burial with full honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

“Remarkable” is how Howard Enoch described the events of that spring. “I will now have a place… to know where he is… to be close to him,” he said. “Before this, I always thought of my father as a young man, sitting in a beautiful pasture in Germany, waiting for someone to bring him home—and that is what happened.” Commenting on the extraordinary

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