I live in a Navy town. Region, actually. This area has the highest concentration of Navy installations for the entire East Coast. One of these installations is the Naval Air Station Oceana, which is a Master Jet Base. Each autumn the Air Station hosts a spectacular Air Show extravaganza featuring the Blue Angels, and I do everything I can to get there every year.
My husband and I decided to go on Saturday this time, and as it turned out, we got very lucky with the weather. It was 81 degrees with a friendly breeze and a dazzling bright blue sky. I brought my camera along so that I could try to capture a good photo for my dad, a retired Navy Captain, who no longer lives in the area (I did get a really good one for him, but alas, I will not post here so that it can be a secret until he gets the framed version in the mail).
Thankful I remembered to wear sunscreen, my husband and I basked in the sun at our table in the beer garden, chatting with our table-mates (whom we had just met) while we waited for the Blue Angels to begin. We discussed the air show, the F-18’s, the Blue Angels, marveling at their speed and skill. Our new friends live closer to the air field than we do, and had witnessed their practice drills for the previous few days.
And then suddenly I heard the rumble. At that point, we couldn’t see the parked Blue Angels jets, but oh, we could hear them. When the engines started, it seemed that everyone in the crowd simultaneously stopped moving, and focused. The Blue Angels show did not disappoint; it was full of twisting maneuvers, cross-overs, and ultra-fast fly bys that sent a shock through my skin.
Though the show was just that – a show – the significance was not absent. The power, skill, and resolve were evident. I am endlessly grateful to all military men and women who dedicate their lives, persevere, put themselves in harms way, and make immense sacrifices to support and defend this country. Saying thank you a million times would still not be enough.