for flugelhorn, violoncello (or viola) and piano


At age 23, Morris Larkin (1922) was an air force crewman flying bombing missions over German military installations in France. On August 13, 1944, his plane was shot down and the crew imprisoned in a series of war camps. While imprisoned, Larkin embroidered his handkerchief by unraveling shoestrings and clothing to create his own embroidery floss and using a powdered-milk can for a hoop. The commemorative piece depicts Larkin’s wartime experience, including an embroidered list naming fellow prisoners of war and the camps in which they stayed. In July 2000, the United States Air Force awarded Larkin the Distinguished Flying Cross for deeds of heroism during aerial flight. 

In Mr. Larkin’s own words: 

“Well, on August 13, 1944, they told us they had a milk run, which was supposed to be an easy mission, you know, you just drop your bombs and come back. Soon as we hit the coast of France, we opened up the bomb bay to drop the bombs, [but the] bomb bay wouldn’t open, so I stood on one side and tried to kick it open and the next thing I knew we got hit. The pilot gave us the order to bail out and we all got clear and the plane. She blew up right after that. I landed amongst the troops, the German troops, right in smack in the middle of German troops.” 

“I had this handkerchief and I drew out the insignia of our outfit and the names of our crew and the places I’d been to and so forth and I made a hoop out of the top of a can. Shoelaces, towels, anything I could find, different colors, and I just made, took the threads (and I had a needle that I got from the Red Cross parcel) and I went up and down and just made the handkerchief out of that. I just went up and down is all - and it came out, it came out the way I wanted it to. I was really surprised, I mean, years later, when I looked at it, I saw how I made the wings and they came out good and the plane it was coming toward you and made the propellers look like they were turning. I just thought of those things back then, I don’t know how. I never did embroidery before.”


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