Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Roar of Freedom

It’s Seafair week in Seattle! Yesterday morning the Blue Angels came to town and flew over my head as I was driving up Interstate 5 to work.

They started practice this morning from 10:00 am to Noon. They’ll do another session today from 1:30 to 2:30 pm... It’s a beautiful summer day and we’ve got the deck door at our office open over looking Lake Union. I can hear the occasional low roar of an F/A-18 Hornet in the background as the Blue Angels do their routines over Lake Washington a couple of miles east of me on the other side of Capitol Hill.

When they finish a sequence and circle around to reform over Lake Washington for the next maneuver one or two of the angels make a huge arc over downtown Seattle, around the Space Needle, and fly right over Lake Union and our office on Eastlake Ave.

It’s a beautiful thing.
Blue Angel flying over Lake Union on August 4, 2011
Blue Angel flying over Lake Union and our office on Eastlake.

I’m instantly a kid again when I hear them. The Blue Angels have been a part of Seattle’s Seafair since I can remember. The only time they missed Seafair was back in 1994 and 1995. All because a few residents complained about the noise which resulted in a dispute with the FAA about their ability to fly safely over Lake Washington.

Talk about a loud noise! There were so many of us Puget Sounders up in arms about it that we made a lot of noise for a long time until we finally got the point across to the “authorities” that Seafair isn’t Seafair without the Blue Angels. They acquiesced... In their first feeble attempt to quiet us down they had the Angels do a separate event over Elliott Bay in 1996. Wrong!

We weren’t happy nor satisfied and rightfully so... The Blue Angels are an integral part of Seafair. If it ain’t over the Lake as part of the Hydroplane Races, then damn it... it ain’t Seafair! The Angels were back in 1997 and flying over Lake Washington as part of the race and weekend activities every year since.

As my friend Mark, a retired Naval fighter pilot said to me back in the mid 70’s during Seafair as the Blue Angels came screaming over head,

“That my friend, is the roar of freedom.”

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