The Greenville News
October 13, 2002


                                   By Jeanne Brooks
                                   The Greenville News

                                   As if it had skimmed the tops of trees and will now flatten the arc of its descent.
                                   Wings at a tilt, nose slightly down. The dull-silver F-86 Sabrejet seems frozen
                                   mid-flight. The zoo ahead, on the left. But after decades, yet unreached.

                                   For years, Jack Parillo drove through Cleveland Park, past the plane. Parillo, 72,
                                   had spent some time in the Air Force. One day, about 12 years ago, he parked his
                                   car and got out.

                                   "I looked at the plane," he recalls. "I read the little monument."

                                   Inscribed on the monument are these words: "Greater love hath no man than this:
                                   that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13."

                                   And these words: "In a period of great international stress he performed his duty of
                                   great responsibility with honor."

                                   And the name: Maj. Rudolf Anderson.

                                   Anderson was shot down in 1962 while flying a secret high-altitude one-man
                                   surveillance plane, the U-2. Photographs that Anderson and another U-2 pilot took
                                   provided evidence that the Soviet Union was installing missiles in Cuba, 90 miles
                                   from the U.S.

                                   President John Kennedy demanded the Soviets remove the missiles or feel
                                   American power. For a number of tense days in a row, the world teetered at the
                                   brink of World War III.

                                   A surface-to-air missile brought down Anderson's plane on Oct. 27, 40 years ago
                                   this year. Kennedy's demand changed to an ultimatum. And within 24 hours, the
                                   Soviets backed down. The missiles were dismantled.

                                   Anderson was a hometown boy. He grew up on Tomassee Avenue. There's a
                                   picture of him as a kid, shirtless, one knee in the grass. He's holding up for the
                                   camera a model plane he built.

                                   In another picture, he's in the middle row of Boy Scout Troop 19. Taken at Camp
                                   Old Indian.

                                   Anderson went to Greenville High School. He played on the Buncombe Street
                                   Methodist Church softball team. He graduated from Clemson University, class of
                                   1948. In his yearbook picture, he's got a crewcut.

                                   Anderson worked in textiles a while. And then he stepped directly into fate's strong
                                   current. In 1951, he joined the Air Force. He flew F-86 Sabrejets in the Korean

                                   Decades later, Parillo stared up at the F-86 becalmed in the quiet of Cleveland
                                   Park, and a mission was born. It began as a matter of precision. Anderson died
                                   flying a U-2. Why wasn't the plane in the memorial a U-2?

                                   Parillo began a campaign, as yet unsuccessful, to acquire a U-2. He began talking
                                   to people and writing letters. The more he did so, the more he learned about
                                   Anderson. A distant cousin of Anderson's suggested that the flyer, the lone
                                   casualty of the Cuban Missile Crisis, deserved a Medal of Honor.

                                   Over his career, Anderson received a number of medals, including the
                                   Distinguished Flying Cross, a Purple Heart, the Air Force Cross. But no Medal of
                                   Honor. Parillo began to campaign for that, too.

                                   Now, Parillo's file folders are several inches thick of letters and documents. And he
                                   has another idea: to name one of Greenville County's new schools for the
                                   hometown hero.

                                   A long time ago, a newspaper columnist once wrote, "I cannot get Maj. Rudolf
                                   Anderson Jr. out of my mind."

                                   Anderson may never get the Medal of Honor. Greenville may never get a U-2. But
                                   Parillo has helped us another way. With remembering.

                                   We should remember.