The Bombing Raid
In my years covering the alcoholic beverage industry in Southern California I attended many, many sales meetings of the various companies. One I will never forget. It took place in the sales room of one of the region’s wholesale liquor distributors.
The meeting took place to hear a presentation by the Scion of the Metaxa Family, producers of world known Metaxa Brandy. During his presentation besides discussing the brands made by the company he also touched on its history and how it had been founded by his Grandfather.
The plant in Greece was quite extensive and his Grandfather besides being a very good business man was also deeply religious. So he had a Chapel built on the premises, a place where his workers or he could go to meditate or pray.
During World War 11 the Germans occupied Greece and the Metaxa plant was ordered to produce only industrial alcohol for use by German industry. And of course it was produce the alcohol or else. The Allies learned through intelligence the Metaxa plant was producing a product for wartime use and the American Army Air Corp planned a raid by B24 bombers stationed in Italy.
The Metaxa representative narrated how the raid had taken place and how it has been most successful leveling every building on the premies except one. The Chapel had completely escaped damage.
At that moment one of the sales people in the room got up and said: “I would like to complete this story if I may.” “I was a bombardier on that raid and as was the practice the next day a reconnaissance plane was sent over to take photos to see if the bombs had done their work. And the crews that had taken part would be shown the photos to evaluate whether the targets had been hit and a learning exercise on what had gone right or wrong. “So the next day we all sat in the briefing room and saw the photos of the destruction and one enlargement clearly showed the Chapel still standing and its cross intact.”
After the War the Metaxa plant was rebuilt and their famous brandy was again the finished product. And the Chapel still remains to tie the past with the present.
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