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Friday, August 18, 2006

Happy 60th Birthday!!!

Posted By on Fri, Aug 18, 2006 at 10:38 AM

Ready for the Big "Wings Over Vermont" Air Show on Saturday?

If Thursday’s little fly-bys were any indication, things are going to get real loud along the Burlington Waterfront. It’s the 60th anniversary of the Vermont Air Guard!

Impressive sight - all the gleaming, streaming, roaring jet fighter aircraft that are so utterly useless in a war fought against suicidal soldiers with explosives under the car hood or strapped to the chest.

Last military air show I saw like this was back in Chicago in the mid 1970s. Chicago, in case you didn’t know, has a bit of a lakefront, too (about 26 miles of lakefront!). Their air show happening this weekend, too:

Those Chicago Lakefront air-shows occurred in the years following our disastrous war in Vietnam. It was a war that showed the willingness of the White House to lie to the American people about the very basic reasons for going to war in the first place. (Geez, that rings a bell! Where have we seen a repeat of that lately?)

The U.S. military wasn’t real popular in the 1970s in large part because it had been betrayed by elected presidents of both parties. Sending troops to fight and die in Vietnam did nothing to protect our country. But what Uncle Sam couldn’t do against the Vietnamese in the jungles of Southeast Asia he was prepared and equipped to do in the skies over America and Europe to protect us all from the great communist threat called the Soviet Union!

Unlike the Viet Cong who neither had nor needed one, the Ruskies had a massive air force of their own and intercontinental ballistic missiles, too. Growing up 20 miles from Times Square, this blogger recalls plenty of air-raid drilling in the grade schools of the 1950s and 1960s.

Ah, the good old days, eh? Remember the draft?

Well, it turned out the Ruskies had another trick up their sleeves - ice hockey. They played a game that was faster and more exciting that the Canadian-style North American game. Ice hockey as we knew it, was never the same again after that 1972 "Summit Series."

Funny how, when you play sports against people who share the love of the same game you do, even hard fought, nose-to-nose physical sports like ice hockey, you start doubting if blowing up their country, i.e. butchering their civilians by the millions with nuclear weapons, is really a sane foreign policy and approach to life?

The Berlin Wall, the great symbol of that “Cold War” which was built in 1961, came down in 1989.

The Soviet Union no longer exists. Today, the National Hockey League is packed with Russian hockey players.

Things have changed.

The Viet Cong had no air power, but the folks in the black pajamas defeated the mightiest military on Earth and won the war anyway.

The Iraqis don’t have air power, either.  Hmmm.

The Chinese do, but they also make most of the clothes and consumer goods we buy. Killing their customers is simply not in their interest.

Which makes Saturday’s planned four-hour display along Vermont’s Lake Champlain shoreline of the U.S. military’staxpayer-funded “strength” alittle out-of-synch with the present times, doesn't it?

Heard Roger Hill the weatherman say on WDEV this morning that there could be a cloud ceiling at around 5000 feet over Burlington on Saturday. He wondered if that would be high enough for the air show to proceed?

Don’t know, but we do know a big, big crowd is expected, somewhere in the 30,000 range. Every politician in Vermont running for statewide office will be there!

And for a few hours Saturday, if the clouds stay away, Vermonters’ ears will have something in common sound-wise with those of their sisters and brothers in Fallujha.

Small world, eh?


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About The Author

Peter Freyne

Peter Freyne

Peter Freyne, 1949-2009, wrote the weekly political column "Inside Track," which originated in the Vanguard Press in the mid 1980s; he brought it to Seven Days in 1995. He retired it shortly before his death in January, 2009. We all miss him.

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