The blog was silent today because I was in San Francisco for the final day of Fleet Week. As always, a good time was had by all, although the kids were dead beat by the time we got them home — never a good thing. The only down side of the day was that we didn’t get to do a ship tour. Because the Navy, being involved elsewhere, was only able to produce half its complement of ships, the lines were so overwhelming that all the ship tour lines closed after only an hour — and before we’d even gotten in sight of the ships. Sigh…. Since I’m a member of the Navy League, though, I have reason to hope that I’ll have other opportunities during the year to tour ships. (Which is a good reason for all of you living in port cities to think about joining.) But let me talk about the good things that happened today.
First off, of course, was the Blue Angels air show. As always, it was absolutely stunning. In fact, today was one of the best days ever, because one of the pilots flew just above the water, at almost the speed of sound, creating the most beautiful vapor oval around his plane. People were just gasping with awe. And then there were all the other moves. I know that they have technical, Angel-speak names, and the slightly drunken lady next to me had given them flower names, but to me, all the moves have just one name: “Oh, my God!” The only variation in that name is that, with higher degrees of manifest danger, the name gets reiterated more frequently. So, when all six planes look as if they’re going to crash into each other, it’s the “Oh, my God!” to the sixth degree. Thrilling, but slightly nerve wracking is how I’d characterize the show. And cold, too. The wind over the Bay just rips the warmth out of your body.
The other good thing about the day was the competence factor. As I realized looking at the Navy Seals’ set-up, where people could try their hand (or, rather their arm) at doing pull-ups, one of the things we like about our military is that we can see people being competent. I know that the military is made up of human beings, and that military personnel mess up just the way other people do, but they still look competent doing it. The smart uniforms and the drilling just go a long way to making them look utterly reliable. And seeing the Navy Seals standing around, well, even though they’re not doing anything, you know that they’re the best of the best, and that makes you feel good.
Same with the Angel pilots — there’s nothing better than their level of perfection and it’s inspiring to be in their ambit. Every time they zoomed by, and my son asked, “What makes them so loud?” I answered “Power.” And I wasn’t just thinking of the plane, I was thinking of the men in the cockpit. Competence. Power. Not evil. All very inspiring.