Tuesday, June 9, 2009

They Woke Me With Their Screams

Monday morning I thought the world was coming to a raucous end (and I'm not an apocalyptic sort) when this incredibe earth-shaking, lingering thunder woke me up. Which is remarkable since I was wearing earplugs. And I live three stories up.

I moved my gravity-resistant (well, not really, I just didn't want to get out of bed) body to the window to see what all the hullabaloo was. I was scared and thought that some military thing was happening, or maybe some kind of end-of-the-world crap.

Because the only other time I've heard this sound--besides the Space Shuttle taking off while camping nearby overnight with hundreds of other people, and mosquitoes--was growing up on military bases. And when fighter jets scream overhead during 4th of July parades, like the Air Force Thunderbirds flying in formation.

It was the 1960's and we lived on Bitburg airbase in Bitburg, Germany. I was around 4-years old when we moved there from Taiwan, and the base would run the B-52 Bombers out at night, practicing precision bombing maneuvers. It was loud. It was terrifying. It was the Cold War, for Pete's sake. And I remember being really scared a lot in the beginning. And you couldn't help but notice because they were flying out at night when things are supposed to be quiet so you can actually, oh I don't know, sleep.

To paraphrase the Air Force Website, "The Air Force's Strategic Air Command (SAC) became the preeminent instrument of American defense strategy. Standing continuously alert for the rest of the Cold War, SAC's arsenal of bombers, such as the long-range B-52 Stratofortress, was joined in the 1960s by intercontinental ballistic missiles, such as the Titan and Minuteman. Together with the Navy's missile-launching submarines, these powerful weapons comprised America's nuclear-deterrent triad." http://airforce.com/learn-about/history/part3/.

I guess with enough sleep deprivation you learn to sleep through anything because after awhile I didn't notice the incessant thundering anymore. I learned to tune it out just like I stopped hearing the ocean when we lived along a Florida beach. Not to mention, I also have the ability to tune out whining children--gift from God preserving what's left of my sanity.

So when I looked out my bedroom window, all that was visible were the white contrails streaking across the blue sky. And I was left to wonder what the hell the skies were up to this Monday morning.

Credit: photo courtesy of http://www.af.mil/photos/mediagallery.asp?galleryID=163&page=2

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