This is Richard Cope and I in the P.I. celebrating our survival of a near death experience. I play the peso and comb, backed up by Airman Cope on vocals. Rollie plays lead guitar in a Caviti City night spot. We have good reason to be happy, having just survived falling from the sky over Cam Rahn Bay. Life is new that night and there is pure joy and goodness in simply being. Earlier that day, you see, we had been pinned to the overhead of a falling Lockheed Super Constellation. There's part of me still, living where the wind still wails like a siren as we dive. Cope still hangs onto a milk can and I still hold my guitar frozen in mid song. We had been stowaways on the Navy troop transport which is why we weren’t strapped into a seat like the rest of the dying men. Cope and I aren’t even on the roster,but we are very much among our brothers in that moment. We got into this situation by spending the evening buying beers for crusty old Chief Traxler. The chief is the father of fellow Cam Rahn photographer Buck Traxler, and he also happened to be the Plane Captain of the falling Super Constellation. Sometime around three in the morning, Chief Traxler agreed to sneak us onto the craft. Overloaded already, two more souls on board won't hurt we all allow at that cloudy morning hour. Chief Traxler says we should stay hidden in the crew's bunk area until the bird achieves lift off. “About the time we’re airborne boys,” Chief Traxler says, “ain’t nobody gonna care if you’ve stowed away or not.” Now with G-forces on our cheeks, the realization of imminent death is terrifying. I’m overwhelmed by the unfairness of looming Death. I had been singing at the front of the plane when the fall started. Cope and I think emerging from hiding with a bawdy song would be funny. It was then, in that moment, I see the first miracle. Light comes through the window and illuminates the face of one of the sailors. He looks like an angel. All the passengers are facing me, but light comes from this man’s face. I see him clearly and he looks directly at me. It’s almost as if the light comes from within him? His face is calm, and he has no fear of death. I’m moved by his braveness. Though I’m pinned like a bug, his smile gives me great peace. Then I hear Cope say, “Might as well just keep playing.” In what was surely the last moments of my life, I position the guitar and manage a few simple soft chords. It was that very moment when the second miracle happens. The pilot manages to pull the old bird up out of the dive, and we all get to go home. We’re told later we had brushed the treetops in a dive caused by avoiding a mid-air collision. “Now, I’ve heard there was a secret chord that David played and it pleased the Lord,” Leonard Cohen spoke of in his song “Hallelujah.” Is that what happened that day? Were magic chords played that pleased the Lord? I forever fall from the sky over Vietnam, you see. Life goes on, but being alive has new meaning. Life is playing a few simply chords, and doing something meaningful in the last few moments before impact. Hallelujah, hallelujah, halleluhah.