Wednesday, June 5, 2013
This io9 article about aircraft graveyards provoked something in me that I felt compelled to share.
The military aircraft lend a whole other level to that. I can't help but think about how these machines served their country as a part of the blanket of safety that protects our freedom and brought their pilots and crews--sometimes multiple generations of them--home to their families. And now, they are abandoned to the elements.
I remember walking through an old B-52 Stratofortress one year at the now-defunct El Toro Air Show. I gazed in awe at the well-worn interior of patched seats and clunky, primitive electronics. It stank of old metal and stale sweat. I crouched into the space where the electronic warfare officer sat, a space so cramped that it was hard to believe that an adult could sit here (let alone in a flight suit, parachute and helmet). Scrawled into an inconspicuous spot on the aluminum bulkhead behind, I saw, "Bill D."
I don't believe in spirits, or ghosts, or auras, or any of that shit. But to someone familiar with the history of
these aircraft, it's like walking a Civil War battlefield. The sense of history is palpable. The mind's eye paints vivid images of the men who fought and sweat and worried and triumphed in these cramped spaces. Irrational as it is to have such sentimentality toward a collection of metal parts, it is difficult for me to escape the feeling that these once proud and powerful machines, these artifacts of history, somehow deserve something more.