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Couldn’t They Spend The Money On Something Else? No. . .No They Couldn’t

April 30, 2020

At 12:59 AM I was standing on my front porch surrounded by my lovely wife and kids. My neighbor was standing with his family in the middle of the road staring off toward the west. Other neighbors occasionally drifted out into the street and glanced up at the partly cloudy skies off to the west.

We waited. And we waited some more. And we waved awkwardly while maintaining our social distancing. We were expecting them between 1:10 and 1:15. We weren’t expecting them to be late. I mean they were travelling 400 MPH. The 40-mile trip from Salt Lake City would be take about six minutes. They were late.

Like many people around the country, and certainly around Utah, we watched a group of four F35 Joint Strike Fighters, our from Hill Air Force Base north of Salt Lake City, doing flyovers to honor health care workers.

The flight has been planned for several days. It’s been advertised all over social media, and regular media for that matter. I have friends who are pretty anti-military. They are my friends but on this idea we disagree. I have great respect for the armed services. My daughter is about to report to her first active duty post. Well, as soon as the military lifts their travel restrictions.

She’s headed to Fort Collins, Colorado to join the Army veterinarian Corp. She’s a vet vet. (No one likes that joke except me.)

My brother retired from the Guard as a captain in artillery. My dad was in the Army. My uncles served. Like Simon and Garfunkle sang in “Baby Driver”, I never got the chance to server, I did not serve.

My friend saw the post on facebook about the flyovers and wondered “Couldn’t they spend the money on something else instead?”

No, they really couldn’t. Literally, they couldn’t. Our pilots train constantly. They fly our fighter jets when they train.

My kids went to school in Spanaway, Washington for a short time. It’s near McCord air base. Although technically I think it’s now McCord Fort Lewis Joint Base, or something equally unpronouncable.

One day we were driving with my kids on the freeway and a big C130 plane out of McCord flew over fairly low.

Hey, look. It’s the recess plane!

What do you mean, sweety?

When that plane flies over the school recess time is over.

The training flights took off at the same time every day. It just happened to also be the time that recess ended.

Today’s flight was different, of course. The planes took off in Northern Utah. They then flew south along I-15, crossing over Orem and Provo, Nephi and Fillmore. The southern end of the flight was St George. There they turned around and headed back north. This time they took a slightly more easterly route. They crossed over Manti and Ephraim, Heber and eventually Park City. (You’ve heard of that one. It’s where the Sundance Film Festival is held every year. . .well, not this one, of course. But every other year.) Finally, three hours after they took off, they landed back at Hill.

Could we have decided to spend the money on something else? Something more important than a symbolic display of military might?

No. The planes were going to fly anyway. The pilots were going to train anyway. All they did was change the flight path a little.

And that slight change in their path impacted a lot of people who are hurting.

My family is Army, but thanks Air Force. And thanks to the health care workers and the essential workers helping us get through this.

Stay safe.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
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or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2020 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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