Monday, May 23, 2011

Armed Forces Day Open House

The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) sponsored an open house
in honor of Armed Forces Day at a hangar at the airport today. Although it felt a little
like a recruitment open house, it was fascinating to see the planes, boats, 
and helicopters, and to chat with some of the military personnel.

Some were friendlier than others and I guess I’d put that up to “why would I want to talk to that old lady with the camera”?  :) Many of them looked so very young but no one refused a picture.
Guns could be explored and explained.

Boats could be climbed into and discussed. 

Sit in a Blackhawk helicopter as pilot or passenger.
Look through an L-RES surveillance tool and see 6 miles away.

Meet an actual sniper and his platoon leader and discover that their camouflage
(you’ve seen it in movies) has a name: ghillie suit. 

There are eight B-17s still flying and one of them, the Yankee Lady, was here today.
We were allowed to climb into it near the cockpit and walk (not comfortably) towards the rear.
It was awkward climbing the ladder, carrying a purse and a camera, 
and trying to maneuver into and through the plane. It made me feel
ancient and less than agile. Then I met the guys
that fly the plane. That didn’t help  :)
Here’s a little background on the holiday:
In the U.S. it is celebrated on the third Saturday of May (many other countries celebrate an Armed Forces Day as well). The day was created in 1949 to honor Americans serving the five U.S. military branches: the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and the Coast Guard. The holiday was first celebrated on Saturday, May 20 in 1950.

The armed forces had recently been unified under the Department of Defense and this day was intended to replace the individual military branch celebrations. In 1962, President Kennedy established Armed Forces Day as an official holiday.

The intent of the celebration is to honor those Americans serving in the armed forces and it also provides an opportunity to the military to display and explain equipment to civilians that results in increased public understanding of the role of the military.

Some wars are just and others not so much, but cheers to all military personnel who do and sacrifice so much on both the war and home fronts.

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