Air Force and Navy to Tip Their Wings to Our Essential Workforce at Noon
I won't go much into my complicated relationship to my patriotism. Except to say, while I could have done without all the lapel pins that later ensued, when I saw the first flags appear in solidarity in the immediate wake of 9/11, it took a deep emotional toll. I don't think I'd ever before realized how powerful a symbol a cloth flag could be.
When I was in grade school, I remember learning "Lift Every Voice and Sing" and being awestruck by its beauty. It shook awake in me an explosively optimistic feeling, perhaps the birth of my complicated patriotism.
Today, cheering at my window, watching my partner cheer beside me, hearing his voice projecting over West End Avenue, listening to but not seeing my downstairs neighbor ringing her school bell, and seeing my counterparts across the avenue materialize from behind closed windows night in and night out: these are small moments of solidarity I never could have imagined would be mine.
Like the flags after 9/11 and the voices lifted in song of my DC childhood, the evening cheers touch a deep nerve within. Collective and rallied around a single cause. A patriotism.
Here now come the airborne elite. In a military tribute to the legions who've kept our fates from a downward spiral -- the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and the Navy's Blue Angels will flyover our punch drunk city today at noon in a salute to the people whose debt we are in: our essential workers and the frontline Covid workers.
These glorious flocks of flying machines are guaranteed to take your breath away.
I can't imagine any aerobatics, but the metaphor of the jets passing in impossible proximity at impossible speed is akin to what our medical, city, and essential business workers have done these past two months. Lockstep. No margin of maneuver. In sync. All ramped up at full speed.
As I said at the top of this post, my patriotism has its complexities. But when it comes to the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds, when they fly over, all is forgiven and forgotten between me and Uncle Sam: I am American to my core. The sight and stunning sound of them, too, make a deep emotional mark -- like a roaring promise that anything is possible, anything achievable. If we come together.
Deep inside we know it's time to face the rising sun of our next new day. With the Blue Angels above, let it resound loud as the rolling sea.