November 13, 2005
Veterans Day Air Show
Being in Las Vegas for Veterans Day definitely has its advantages. For one thing, the weather here was absolutely beautiful! But more importantly, we had the opportunity to celebrate and remember our veterans by attending the last air show of the season, Aviation Nation. November 11 was a special Military Appreciation Day, so we were able to attend without the overwhelming numbers of people who came in on Saturday and Sunday, which was very nice with our three little ones. Tobin was thrilled by absolutely everything, from the 37 mm anti-aircraft cannon to the SA-8 Surface-to-Air missile system (which all 3 kids and Daddy crawled inside) to the MH-60 rescue helicopter. You can see his cheesy grin here as he sits in the front of the rescue helicopter, showing his delight at being able to push all the buttons and not get in trouble. :-)
We spent a total of about 5 1/2 hours wandering around on the flightline, way longer than I thought we would last, but the kids loved every bit of the show--with the exception of the extremely LOUD Harrier demonstration! Well, to be fair, they liked watching the plane but didn't like the noise. We found ear plugs after that, though Charis was the only one who would wear hers. As Tobin was able to cover his ears by himself, I was mostly concerned about Arden...he let me cover his ears SOME of the time. Anyway, the Harrier, for those who don't know, is a jet that can take off vertically, hover, and fly sideways and backwards. It is very cool to watch, but quite hard on the ears.
We sat in the stands to watch some of the demonstrations after munching cheeseburgers and corn dogs (mmmmm, a little slice of America right there, albeit a greasy one). A lady had given us all little flags to wave as we were looking at some of the static displays, and in the bleachers the kids finally got into holding theirs and waving them about. It's actually a small miracle that no eyes were poked out, since Arden was by far the most enchanted with his flag and waved it vigorously for all to see. I don't even think he was watching the planes at this point, which is probably a good thing, because then surely someone would have been blinded before it was all over.
One of the coolest demonstrations involved representative planes from different war eras: a red-tailed P-51 from WWII, an F-4 from Vietnam, and an F-22, the newest fighter being used today.
But probably the highlight of the day was seeing the Thunderbirds in all their glory. Their show was at the end, and of course well worth the wait. I think the last time I saw their show was when we were stationed in San Angelo. Even waiting for them to take off was exciting--a movie-like soundtrack played, with the announcer waxing eloquent about our freedom fighters. Watching the six F-16s zip into the air and perform their amazing stunts kinda makes ya proud to be an American! When the show was over, we headed home, and during the half-hour drive, Arden conked out and didn't even wake up when I unbuckled him and carried him up to his bed. He was one tired little guy. In fact, we all were! But it was a wonderful way to spend the holiday.
Thank you, Veterans! Thank you, active duty soldiers! God bless you and your families, and God bless America!