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‘Those who want to, please pray’ — and a song is born

On this day in 1943: Returning from a World War II mission over Germany, a B-17 bomber piloted by Hugh Ashcraft of Charlotte is flak-riddled and minus one engine. “Those who want to,” Ashcraft tells his crew, “please pray.”

The “Southern Comfort” makes it back to England, receiving wide attention and inspiring both a hit record and an enduring expression: “Coming In On A Wing And A Prayer.” Ashcraft in later life will become president of the Harris Teeter supermarket chain.

Lots more interesting details here.