Not Marlene Dietrich

I had numerous encounters with the Blue Angels last week. When I speak of the Blue Angels, I am not referring to the famous film, nor to teal-colored celestial beings. I am talking about the Navy flight demonstration squadron of military aircraft.

The planes are loud, dangerous and they pollute our airspace. They’ve had numerous accidents because they fly such precision maneuvers. Wikipedia quotes the job as having a 10% fatality rate. I am not very comfortable having this roving air show inhabiting the space above my city every year. No matter, inhabit it does, and I try to make the best of it. Rumor says that Seattle is the only town which allows the planes to fly over residential areas, but I don’t know if this is true.

I got to watch some of their cool tricks while waiting for the bus the other day. It was fun to watch, if deafening, and I’m glad that I live in a city that merits this kind of attraction. This mixed blessing would have never come to Rochester, Minnesota, where I lived for a number of years. The planes fly low in some locations, and they look like they are almost upon you. It’s scary, but it reminds me that I am lucky enough to live in a country where the only military planes I see are participating in demonstrations to entertain and educate the public. I did not expect to be bombed by these aircraft, although I have heard stories that some immigrants have not yet realized this and have been very frightened by the planes. My friend’s cat was likewise terrorized by the noise. The planes are incredibly loud.

The Blue Angels are one of the marks on Seattle’s calendar. They come every year as part of the festivities around a local festival called Seafair, and their practices are seen by a great number of people. They remind us that it’s a certain time of year, a seasonal reminder as clear as any agricultural marker ever was. I know we are at the middle point of summer just because I’ve seen them, and they have now moved on to wherever they go when they leave. Once they leave town, I no longer follow their exploits. I wish them safe flying until they return.

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it:

153. Is there some attraction that comes to your town every year that’s a mixed blessing? What are the positive features of this event?


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