May 24, 2010 by Peter Gratton
Harman mentions the Blue Angels (the Navy flyers) flying annually over downtown Chicago. He asks, rightly, if they still do it. Why, yes, they do. (Though the Blue Angels alternate every other year with another group of Navy flyers.) And yes, even after 9/11 they would fly over the city, which was strange to me when it first happened and gave rise to a number of calls, according to news reports, to 911. (Which raises a question: what do you think the local police are going to do about invading planes?) They seemed to fly especially low over the area I lived in.
I have attended not just one, but three Blue Angels festivities in Chicago. My father-in-law used to come in specifically to see this, and though (can I say this online?) I find it war porn and quite disgusting in its own way (you’re watching planes fly over you while similar planes are flying over others elsewhere in the world to much more terrifying effect), I happen to like my father-in-law and thus would feel awful to say no, since Freelance Extraordinaire always refused to go. Thus, for a few years in a row, I would sit out somewhere in Lincoln Park, looking up at the sky, and pretending that airplanes going overhead were somehow interesting. (He would say, “that’s the new F-22 whatever, and I would say, “I thought that wasn’t out of production yet…. great to see it here!” And I would always mix up the bombers, the fighter jets, and what-have-you.) I brought Brad along and his interest always (good) waned after a few seconds, with hours still to go.
A few years ago, there was an incident when it ended early when two of the planes collided and part of one of the jets fell off, which could have hit one of the many boats below.
So, uh, Len, if you ever read this: I always enjoy our time together and thus I hope you don’t mind me saying that, well, it was not my favorite thing. (I think you guessed that, especially the time you wanted to go back the second day and I came down with the flu, extra work to do on deadline, an appointment to go to, and something else all on one day…) Also, you’re right: I was a terrible photographer, since by the time I would click the camera, the supersonic jets would already be gone. And thanks for always packing great lunches…