I heard them before I saw them, a great roar that meant business. I craned my head out the car window, but the tree cover made it impossible to see the planes overhead. I was sitting in line to enter Great Falls Park, an idea that I realized wasn't so very original as I saw the dozens of cars ahead of and (soon) behind me.
Less than a few thousand feet away was the Potomac River. The World War II aircraft assembled yesterday would fly down the river to the Capitol. It was my best chance to see the planes in flight.
Finally, I reached the gate, paid $5, found a parking spot and ran — full-out ran — to the overlook. As I did, I heard more engines. A group of four planes rumbled overhead. This was enough. Just to see and hear these four.
But oh, it gets better. Because the planes were actually circling above us before they flew downtown, so we saw most of the formations twice. And it quickly became apparent that I was standing with a bunch of die-hard WWII aircraft enthusiasts. "Look, it's a P-38," said one. "You can tell by the twin fuselage."
Maybe it was just me, but I think most of us were there not just for ourselves but for others. The man standing next to me said his father was a tail gunner in a B-29. And when I nodded and smiled at one woman about my age, I noticed her eyes were as full as mine.
One thing I'm sure about — and I'm not sure about much — is that once our loved ones are gone, we become their eyes and ears. Yesterday, Dad was all around me — in the warm spring sunshine, in the contrailed sky. And he was there especially when the B-17s flew out of the clouds, over our heads and into the limitless blue beyond.
|B-17 in flight|
Labels: Dad, event