Beech 18 AT-7 Navigator Copyright Museum of Flight - all rights reserved

latest blog entries updated on December 18, 2009


a blog by Peter Stekel

FINAL FLIGHT is the story of four aviators lost in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks on November 18, 1942

FINAL FLIGHT, coming from Wilderness Press in 2010

Read more about FINAL FLIGHT here.



My new book, Best Hikes Near Seattle, is a hiking guide to the Cascade Mountains within 60 miles or 60 minutes of downtown Seattle.

It is now available and can be purchased on-line in Oregon at Powell's Books in Portland HERE, at Better World of Books HERE, or from Amazon HERE.

Or, ask at your local bookstore.


December, 2009
Last summer I went on a walk in the English countryside near Sevenoaks in Kent with my friend Jim Buntine. We stopped at a pub called The Chaser Inn. It happened to be next to a church. It was lunchtime and it was Sunday. I don't know if that is why the pub was so crowded or if it was because the day was warm and sunny and the previous two weeks had been cold and rainy.

After drinking our beer and eating a plate of chips, Jim and I wandered over to the church cemetery to have a look around. English church buildings in the countryside tend to be on the small side. On the other hand, their cemetery's tend to cover a lot more ground than the church. Having been in continual use for 500 years probably has something to do with this. I've seen some English churches completely surrounded by their cemeteries.

This 55 year old man [Henry Barrett] died in February 13, 1702

The stone bench/crypt on the left dated to the mid 17th century

Jim commented on people's wish for immortality in stone. Where were the family and friends to remember someone like Henry Barrett 307 years after his death. "One or two generations [of remembrance] ought to be enough," said Jim.


If there is anything that has characterized human beings for thousands of years, it is the respect and dignity we give to our dead. Civilian or soldier. Poor or rich. Farmer or king.

We have learned more about ourselves by studying the dead than by any other means.

Nothing claims the news headlines than a story about a mummy. Or some long lost person exhumed from an equally long lost grave.

CSI shows on television are popular. I don't think it is ghoulishness. I think it is a desire amongst us all to understand the history of our parents. To know - but never to understand - the mystery of death. And what may, or may not, accompany that mystery.

As with any work of art, there are sections of FINAL FLIGHT that will never be seen in any official sense. This includes a few chapters which were considered either extraneous, repetitious, or a digression from the main points of the book. Material from these chapters were either discarded or condensed and appear in a different form throughout FINAL FLIGHT.

I've included one such chapter. Pro Patria Mori was to be Chapter 14 and it discusses why we citizens in the United States of America feel so strongly about honoring our soldier dead. The chapter borrows from two recent works on the subject and I highly recommend them both to anybody interested in this topic. They are:

  • Soldier Dead: How We Recover, Identify, Bury, and Honor Our Military Fallen, by Michael Sledge
  • This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War by Drew Gilpin Faust
  • You can read Pro Patria Mori HERE [PDF] or HERE [HTML]

    Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori is a line from the Roman lyrical poet Horace's Odes (III.2.13). The line can be roughly translated as: "It is glorious and honorable to die for one's country."


    Check below for the latest blog entries.


    December November October September August July June May April March February January


    December November October September August July  June May April March February January    


    December November October September


    write to: peter[at]


    copyright 2010 Peter Stekel all rights reserved



    Final Flight, Mendel, Mendel Glacier, Sierra Nevada, Peter Stekel, Leo Mustonen, Ernest Munn, William Gamber, John Mortenson, Kings Canyon National Park, Beech 18, AT-7, plane crash, mummy, JPAC, Wilderness Press, finalflightthebook, blog, 41-21070, airplane, lenticular cloud, hypoxia, navigation, wilderness