i really love pilots and airplanes and bombers and the air force and battle hymns. i don’t know what it is about the ww II era but i feel a connection. on my first trip to dc in 7th grade i bought a rosie the riveter t-shirt. i was hooked on ww II, what can i say? but i’m not an ageist where aircraft is concerned.
i remember the feeling of awe as i stood on the grass at kill devil hills, north carolina and imagined what the wright brothers accomplished in that same spot.
i also eagerly watched every episode of the “when we left earth” series, blown away by the crazy leaps and bounds flight took during those decades. i remember coming home from school to find my mom crying because the challenger had exploded. and i remember years later, staring blankly at the tv with my roommate as parts of the columbia fell over texas. after that i would always be anxious the day a space shuttle was to re-enter our air space.
here every summer we get to watch a spectacular performance by the blue angels over lake washington. the days leading up we hear their thunderous engines as they shoot past our apartment window during practice dives and loops.
probably one of the single most things i miss about dc are the free museums. my intern summer i already knew i was in love with dc and wanted to stay for good – but luckily i acted like my time there was precious. as interns we took advantage of everything.
living in the land of boeing gives me a whole different appreciation for flight. a few weeks ago we went to the museum of flight. i was a little cocky as we arrived, preparing myself to be disappointed. after all, this wasn’t a smithsonian.
it didn’t need to be. it was thrilling to realize i live in a city where many of these planes were born.
the best part was at the end of a long long line. we waited. christian was impatient. he wondered if it was worth it. i told him it was. finally, we stepped aboard special air missions 970 and it felt as if i had gone back in time. i loved every inch of that plane, cram-packed with communications centers, offices, tables, couches… all the old equipment quietly waiting there. almost as if they didn’t know they were retired. i tried to imagine presidents eisenhower, kennedy, johnson, and nixon in the big presidential chair. and then an archaic device caught my eye. an old school, hand wound pencil sharpener. and it made me laugh that something so ordinary, that i remember from my elementary classroom, was an essential part of the regal air force one.