Monday, November 16, 2009

The Light In the Sky

Saturday was an incredible day in Chapel Hill. The Heels were playing Miami (Ok, we won…and that was great, but not the point) at 3:30 pm in the final home game of the season, the sky was a brilliant Carolina Blue, the stands were reasonably full at the end of a week in which it seemed that everything you read was about basketball season starting, and a flyover was scheduled.

Here’s three words for you: I love flyovers. For a lot of reasons that I’ll tell you in a moment, so hang with me…’cause that really is the point of this blog, but keep reading.

At about a minute before kickoff, as the captains are calling the toss, a glint of reflected light on the far eastern horizon caught my attention. I pulled up the binoculars and sure enough, the light is bouncing off the canopies of 4 F/A-18s banking left and lining up on Kenan Stadium.

It looked as if they were crawling through the air toward us and the lead fighter’s nose was pointing right at my seat. As they blasted overhead that wonderful deafening roar choked me up, as always.

So, as the comedian Ron White would say, “I had to tell you that so I can tell you this.”

The thing that gets me emotional every time I experience one of these flyovers is this question: “What, in the grand span of the universe, did I do in a previous life that was so good that I have been fortunate enough to be born into a country and time that can create a machine that magnificent, and grow young people smart and brave enough to fly them and to put themselves in harm’s way on my behalf?”

I understand my friends’ knee-jerk reactions about war machines, and better use of resources and all that. I get it.

But, we have the opportunity to have non-violent debates about those topics thanks to the types of folks, and machines, that flew over Kenan Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

That loud roar? That’s the sound of the blanket of freedom being pulled over you every night as you lay safely in bed.

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