Tuesday 3 May 2011, 15:11
"Lest we forget" is the motto of the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.
I have no doubt that after the royal wedding on Friday, tens of millions will forever remember the sight of three World War II planes roaring down the Mall in central London, as a sea of people became a sea of flash photography.
In some ways this is a difficult blog post to write as I would love to fill it by telling you how it felt to broadcast live to the nation from the cockpit of a plane older than my Dad.
However, despite the old lady doing her bit just perfectly, sadly modern technology let us down.
The plan was that, as we approached London, I would leap into position and deliver 90 seconds of compelling and entertaining commentary about the plane, and then reaction afterwards relating to the flypast, and how proud the Royal Air Force were to be paying their respects to a current RAF pilot in the shape of Prince William.
Despite delivering my lines three times, things conspired against us and we weren't able to deliver what would have been an epic part of the BBC's royal wedding coverage, much to my frustration and sadness.
However, as the well known biblical phrase goes, "The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away."
I think that line sums up exactly how I felt as I collapsed into my seat on the train home on Friday evening.
I was so frustrated that we weren't able to deliver our side of the bargain.
Yet, at the same time, I was on the crest of a wave after being privileged to spend 24 hours in the company of some incredible people and some equally impressive feats of British engineering.
As I sit here penning this blog post, aged 32, I think for the first time I've only just grasped quite how brave those boy-pilots were, 70 years ago.
I will never forget the moment I climbed aboard the Lancaster on Thursday afternoon to prepare for the flypast.
I felt immediately claustrophobic, with an instant, increased respect for what my forefathers achieved.
It was compact, lacking any sort of comfort, and with echoes of the past all around me.
Messages about bombs, ammunition and emergencies offered a regular reminder of the plane's glorious, if incredibly dangerous, past.
As well as the flight itself being something that will stay with me forever, I gained just as much enjoyment from chatting to the engineers who get these planes in the air, and the pilots who keep them there.
I had barely been there for five minutes and I had been encouraged to stand on the wing, sit in a Spitfire, and asked to imagine being a Battle of Britain pilot.
The RAF servicemen looking after the relics are experts, historians, and tour guides all rolled into one, and are brilliant at the lot.
Just imagine the facts. Most pilots were in their early 20s with very little flying experience and suddenly carrying out night-time sorties lasting hours.
Of the thousands of Lancasters that were built, only 30 managed to clock up over a century of missions, and the average life of one of the planes was just a couple of weeks. As scary as it is unbelievable.
And it is all those reasons and more that it's essential the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight retain the ability to keep these planes where they belong - in the air.
Taking off and seeing the Spitfire and Hurricane playing around just behind us, as responsive and athletic as they were all those years before.
The sound of the Merlin engines roaring into life, and the moment we joined the party being attended by millions.
All of them wonderful memories of the day the RAF paid their respects to Kate and her new husband, who is the patron of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.
However, despite all that, what really resonated with me was what we did after we'd flown over the capital.
As we headed back north we dropped in on fetes, garden gatherings and street parties across Britain.
At the sound of the engines the streets below us were full of frantic waving as we dipped our wings and made people's day with a low arc past them.
Whilst I will be forever grateful for what I experienced on Friday, the same applies to us all.
We all owe these planes and the pilots who flew them so much, and every day the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight makes sure that decades after these planes did their national duty, we shall never forget. I know I won't.
Jake Humphrey is a BBC Sport presenter and writes a blog about Formula One.
Comments made by writers on the BBC TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.
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