blue angel in the sky

The Blue Angels are in San Francisco for Fleet Week, an annual occurrence here.

This morning, while I was watering the vegetable garden (yes, I have to give you an update on that thing!)…I heard a deep throated mechanical ROAR. A big jet. A BIG jet. (Or an unbelievable earthquake).

Ever the optimist, I looked up at the sky, instead of running for cover.

I saw the speck in the sky, a tiny jet, and then it got closer, flying straight over our house! A blue angel!

Exhilarating.

…and I must confess. At one point, in junior high, I dreamt of joining the US Air Force Academy. I know–sedentary ME! But I had a crush on a boy who wanted to be in the Air Force, and I have always wanted to fly. So at the time, it was perfectly logical.

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “blue angel in the sky

  1. OMG, I hate the Blue Angels almost as much as I hate George Bush. I keep hoping they will have a spectacular crash.

  2. Seriously? I LOVE them! They do have a crash every few years, and I find it very sad.

  3. Leila

    I don’t hate them, but I witnessed a jet attack on a refugee camp when I was twelve – three planes diving and swooping and looping the loop. About a dozen people died in that raid. Never believe anybody who talks about surgical strikes – there is no such thing. Bombs kill people and usually the innocent die even if one or two “guilty” (convicted by a court?) parties expire.

    I’ve done enough emotional work that I no longer have the shakes or uncontrollable crying when buzzed by jet fighters, but Blue Angel weekend is not my favorite. Today they cavorted above me as I drove over the bridge at 1 pm, and continued their low flying over SF for my afternoon there.

    Sometimes they look like pelicans flying in formation.

    Man were they close – I was in the Western Addition, and also on the edge of Pac Heights/the Fillmore, trying to enjoy the views from a lovely park on Jackson Street.

    No, I don’t hate them, but I have to work hard not to curse when they buzz me.

    I don’t want them to crash. When those fighter jets buzzed and bombed our neighbors when I was twelve, I did want them to crash.

    I do see how they can be exhilarating to watch. Again, if you have ever watched them do this while dropping payloads of bombs that kill people, well, you just can’t feel the same about watching air shows. Or I can’t. I may have some Lebanese relatives who like this kind of display. Some people think that killing people you hate or fear is somehow good for your security. I have not seen evidence to support that idea.

  4. Leila, that was a very powerful post. All I can see and imagine when I see and hear the Blue Angels is a kind of showing off, “Yay, we’re the USA, we kill people, aren’t we cool.” It was probably very immature of me to say I hoped they would crash, but it’s just a really arrogant show of might, and it makes me upset. And I hate, hate, hate, that even a cent of my taxes goes to support these displays of military arrogance.

  5. I hate war, too. And all the awful things that come with war (like murders, and death, and torn families, and POWs and propaganda and torture and dishonesty–the list goes on). My family has been directly affected by war, my country of origin has a DMZ that is the consequence of Cold War politics (and literal war), my country (America) has its history formed by war, too.

    War, unfortunately, is a part of humanity–that very dark part. The military, in my opinion, does good, too. And it (the military) is necessary in a life where war/conflict is very real and present. I wish the world were different but it is not.

    I truly do not believe the pilots in those planes think “Yay, we’re the USA, we kill people, aren’t we cool.” I think the Blue Angels are about national pride, which I do have, despite some of my own reservations about what we do as a nation.

    I think also that there is beauty in most things. And even though the Blue Angels are also probably a recruiting tool (and those planes have a primary use that have nothing to do with air shows), they are quite beautiful to me. I fortunately have not had planes bomb my house like they have yours, Leila…and so I’m sure my opinion would change otherwise.

  6. Tea

    I cannot stand the Blue Angels, and I am particularly resentful at having to suffer them twice this year–once in Seattle and now in San Francisco. I was just complaining about this today.

    I love airplanes, I think they are amazing, I’ve taken flight lessons.
    But the Blue Angels make me sick to my stomach. Here in America people see them and cheer; here they are entertainment, something to watch as people eat their popcorn. What an outrageous privilege this is! In most countries that sound would signal fear and flight and death. Whenever I hear them I flinch. Though I have never experienced war myself, the sound makes me think of mothers and children cowering in fear and I want to cry. How can the instrument of one country’s entertainment be the instrument of another’s grief and mourning? What quirk of fate has put us here rather than there?

    It’s not a question of patriotism for me. There are things I am proud about in America (fewer of them every day, but still a few). I’m proud of the national park system, the ethnic and cultural diversity, and the story of my friend whose grandfather came from Mexico and worked the fruit fields, chewing straw to keep his stomach from growling each day because he had no lunch to eat, and now his granddaughter is an Ivy League grad and owns her own business. There are many countries where that leap would not be possible.

    But I am not proud of these instruments of war, I don’t celebrate them. They are fearsome and should be acknowledged, but used and displayed as little as possible I think. They should not be cheap and patriotic entertainment. The power to harm and maim and kill is not to be celebrated.

    Not to mention the needless environmental impact–and the fact that our tax dollars are going to fund this arrogant display of American ego while children go without health care or proper school books.

    Again, if it were just airplanes, just an airshow without any affiliation, I might feel differently. But it’s not. Fleet week is all a celebration of our millitary might and I hate it.

    Whew, what a rant. Thanks for the forum and the topic.

  7. Jeff

    Feel happy it’s not a celebration of somebody else’s military might in San Francisco. If not for people like the Blue Angels, that might be what you would see. And if so, it would probably be the forces of someone who would be less tolerant of your negative comments about its displays of military might.

    Keep that in mind – you can have an opinion because the work of people like those pilots ensures it. By the way, I have kids in school and am happy with their school books and am happy their instructors are not disciples of Josef Goebbels. And I also happy they are not school books written by a foreign power that would muzzle my kids or you guys, though I disagree with some of your views. The whole point is you can have a view and that is precious. Celebrate that as you hear the F18s roar over the Bay this weekend. We might disagree, but guess what, here you have the freedom to disagree.

    We should prevent conflict when we can, but history shows us that we often cannot. This is a misfortune, but it is probably not going to change any time soon. Hence we need the readiness and skills of those pilots, and those of all the other people in the armed services.

    Now, the politicians are another matter 🙂

  8. teacherleila

    I’m with Tea. and I don’t think that our air force is what protects us. Our wars of the last fifty years have not been about protecting our freedoms at home. Some pointy-headed, bespectacled lawyer at the ACLU is doing a lot more to protect our freedoms than our fighter jet pilots ever will.

    The founding fathers were suspicious of standing militaries, and Dwight Eisenhower echoed those suspicions. The idea that jet fighters somehow protect my constitutional rights is a bit of propaganda not based in fact.

    Hell, our fighter jets couldn’t even stop those planes on 9/11 – what good were they on that day?

    Sorry, military history does not confirm your emotional belief that jet fighters looping the loop (or bombing people) do anything for your freedom as an American. That’s just jingoistic military hype.

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