Sunday, November 9, 2008

air show

Yesterday we took the kids to see an air show. I don't know who was more excited, them or me. I'd never been to one before and was ready for the action.

As soon as we got there I was awed and thrilled by the action in the air. It's a wonder I didn't crash into people as I walked with my head skyward and my chin on the ground. There was a helicopter demonstration. It went upside down! I didn't know they could do that. There were also parachuters and, of course, many, many planes.

Our favorites included the Raptor, the Oracle (a specially built stunt bi-plane), and the Thunderbirds.

It was unseasonably warm. We could have all worn shorts. It was lovely in the shade, though.

Don't adjust your screens, folks. That is a plane flying completely upside down across the length of the airfield.

As if flying upside down wasn't impressive enough, there was this tandem move. These two planes are the solo planes of the Thunderbirds. There are six total. Four fly in formation regularly and two solo. Of course, the solo planes join the other four from time to time. At one point the two solo planes came at each other, chicken fight style. At the last second they each turned sideways so their bellies were facing each other. I tell you what, all day there were many butt-cheek-clenching moments as I was sure the planes would crash or drop right out of the sky. I'm glad I'm not these pilots' mothers!

The show the Thunderbirds put on was awesome to say the least and very dramatic. They are the only planes that started off unmanned in full view. The pilots and the other members of the crew approached the planes with such choreographed grace and precision. The crew saluted the pilots just before the pilots put on some flight gear before climbing in the plane. Every, every, move was timed perfectly and moved in procession from the first plane to the last. All the while, dramatic music is playing and there is a speaker telling us about the history of the Thunderbirds and the Air Force and more. As the planes were given the orders to start their engines, chills ran up and down our spines. Then in pairs they moved from their parked positions to taxi to the edge of the runway. The crowd waved and the pilots waved back. There was a lump in my throat when I thought of all this signified. The history that goes with all these planes we saw. The hours of training and sacrifice that go into being a pilot, being a member of the service. The selfless way our soldiers risk their lives to save our own, or those of another country. The way we all felt a unexplained connection to these strangers whose skill and dedication we were about to see.

Then, of course, we were not disappointed by the show. It was amazing.

At the end of the day I told Greg that I wondered how many people enlisted in the services during the course of the day. Being in the service is soooo not for me and I was moved practically to enlistment. Not to worry. I'm far too much of a wuss for that! Plus I don't like people telling me what to do.

We toured a few of the planes. The kids loved to sit in all the places they were allowed to put their tushies and try it out. We went in an Apache helicopter and and several cargo planes.

They pretended to fly a rescue helicopter.

I even checked out a seat. I asked the kids if they thought this would be a comfortable seat to fly overseas. They said yes. Yeah, for about 5 minutes.

Here they are trying out their navigational skills.

It turned out to be a perfect day. I am grateful for everything this day represented for me. Time with my family, new experiences, and freedom.

Thank you, soldiers!

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