Bugster2 wrote:Just saw the stealth bomber fly over the parade route. So cool.
I know what you mean, Debbie, as it's quite exciting to see one of those cool planes. When people were flying over to clear out the Suez Canal back in the '70s, I was friends with a bunch of people who were professional divers so they were flying out of the local Naval Base in Belle Chasse, which is the Base at which we now have shopping privileges. Anyway, while there, I got to see a Harrier jet both land AND take off -- you know the kind where they stop in midair and then descend in place like a helicopter! I swear, I stood there with my mouth open as it was AMAZING -- just really defied your imagination. I truly felt like my eyes were being tricked somehow!
Another time I was gobsmacked over aircraft was when the World War II Museum opened in New Orleans on June 6, 2000, which was the 56th "anniversary" of D-Day . (It originally debuted as the D-Day Museum but pretty quickly rebranded itself as the World War II Museum. The museum was being deluged with items from veterans who had saved things from WWII. Some had items they'd removed from say a dead Japanese man -- they felt kind of bad in retrospect for taking such items and really didn't want to throw the item away out of respect.)
Anyway, they had a parade and got special permission to do flyovers of various WWII airplanes really low over the Central Business District (CBD), the perimeter of which is where the museum is located. I was working and the firm was on the parade route so they gave all the employees from our four story building) small American flags to wave and told us to get out there and watch. It was one of the best parades ever, as they flew in tons of WWII veterans who were riding on floats, on the backs of convertibles, etc., some of them in their old uniforms. I cried my eyes out, as did the parade goers and parade participants. People were shouting "Thank you" to all the old Veterans and they were crying and blowing kisses to everyone -- it was the most patriotic exhibit I've ever seen in my life and I cannot imagine how anything could ever top it. Today people tend to quickly say "Thank you for your service," but it wasn't the same for those returning from the war. Brian, a Vietnam Veteran who is very proud to be a Veteran though he was a draftee, something most people were over the course of that very long war, and had not volunteered, as some did, though nowhere near the volunteers amassed once we entered WWII (Pearl Harbor, of course, played an integral part of that which it should have; but even with the surge in patriotism, they still instituted a draft in September 1940.)
They even had some Code Talkers riding in open air jeeps and the whole parade moved very slowly by, which was perfect because it encouraged so many to shout out; people had time to be right up near the floats hollering out thank-yous and also throwing kisses to all the men on the floats. Flags were waving ALL OVER THE PLACE. I found out so many people had no clue at the time about the Indian Code Talkers and what a valuable part they played during the war so I explained who the Code Talkers were and what they did, to lots of people all around me. They'd heard me shout out "Look, it's the Code Talkers," and then EVERYONE of us in the crowd saw the Veterans' absolute glee at being recognized -- you LITERALLY saw their faces light up in surprise and happiness, just a very sudden change and just a very obvious reaction to my shout-out! All the Indian talkers, both males AND females, were nodding their heads, smiling, waving and giving me several thumbs up -- obviously absolutely thrilled that someone knew their story. It was really an amazing moment, as it seemed like there were only two things there: just the code talkers AND the crowd -- "them" and "us" --and for just a couple of seconds everyone seemed on the same page, those beaming in pride at having served OR those beaming and shouting gratitude with pride from the crowd, with the talkers just enjoying the way they were showered with and shown such displays of heart-warming gratitude from so many people. It really felt like an honor just being there that day.
And of course, there were some WWII nurses, some of which could still fit in their uniforms, and my mom was an army nurse in WWII (served in both South Africa and Italy) so I was doubly proud to see them, hollering out, "My mom served right there with you! Thank you!," "South Africa? Italy service?" as often as I had the chance. (My mom was still alive and just starting to show signs of becoming a bit "dotty" -- that word sounds like something a Southern old lady would say, doesn't it, but it fit my mom to a T around then. A friend of my late sister knew of my mom's service and actually got her two tickets to the VIP "bleachers" at the big opening ceremony, with speeches, military bands playing each military branch's anthem -- lots of pomp and circumstance, too, which the old veterans seemed to love, I know my mom sure did.
As usual, I digress.
The flyover of the planes included this HUGE monster of a plane flying low right over where we were standing -- it looked like one of Howard Hughes' big monstrosities. While I was standing there with my mouth open, I said, "What in God's name is THAT?" And lucky for me, there was an older man standing nearby who said, "That's a B52 bomber, lady!" Poor Brian was home recuperating from cancer surgery watching the live coverage of the parade on TV. Since our home is right across the river from the French Quarter and the CBD, he would see the planes on television and then would limp to the back kitchen door, where he would see them flying right over our house on the way back to the Base in Belle Chasse!
At this point, I really should hang my head while remembering this is a cooking forum and say that I didn't see where there were any people selling food -- unusual in New Orleans but this was the museum's parade and it was on a workday. I don't know if they expected it or not, as I remembered there was a plea made by someone in the public eye, perhaps the mayor or the museum director, for companies to let their employees out to attend the parade since 15,000 veterans and their families were in town for a sold-out grand opening celebration at the New Orleans Arena and I think about 600 were actually taking part in the parade. So it was a pretty nice crowd but you'd have thought peanut and popcorn vendors would have descended but I don't remember seeing one! Or maybe I was just mesmerized by the whole thing. So much for my "food" contribution in this email...