Reminders Of Suppressed Truths
My husband and I recently took a vacation to Washington, DC. It was our first time flying in 2 ½ years and I was not sure what to expect. All went well I am glad to say. We went to visit friends that Paul has known since grade school. One of our outings was to The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles International Airport which is the companion facility to the aviation museum in Washington, D.C (under renovation). Hundreds of historically significant air- and spacecraft, along with thousands of small artifacts, are on display in an open, hangar-like setting. The stars are the Space Shuttle Discovery; B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay; Concorde, Lockheed Martin SR-71 Blackbird; Boeing Stratoliner. It is the most visited museum at the Smithsonian.
So my story is related to the SR-71 Blackbird-a plane. When I was a freshman at the Air Force Academy we had a little book called, Contrails, that we had to memorize. Along with famous quotes from top military commanders, etc. it had a section on recognizing the outlines of all the US planes in the Air Force Inventory. I love the SR-71 because of its unique, sleek shape I always got it right when grilled.
So walking into the museum the first plane you see is the SR-71 Blackbird. It is the world’s fastest jet-propelled aircraft and was retired in 1990. So I walked around all the planes from WWI, WW2, Cold War, etc. and after about an hour started feeling a bit of nausea. Then we went into the section of the hanger that housed commercial planes like the Concorde. I felt better. My husband said to me did you notice that every plane we have seen until now was built to kill people? And now we are in the part where the planes are built for the pleasure of people. I admit I am sensitive and empathic – most NDE are. But I literally had to leave the building and go outside and breathe when I realized the gravity of what he said.
For you see when I signed on to the AFA I did not really think of my career as one where killing others was involved. I consciously bought in to the commercials glorifying the military and all the opportunities that awaited one. Sure, I would go through boot camp but the threat of war and having to kill or be killed I certainly would not encounter that – total suppression. Seeing these planes built for that mission actually made me ill. That is not who I am or what I ever wanted. I never let myself go there – just focused on the specialness of being at the Academy and telling myself I was doing my part to make America safe.
I clearly felt the shift of energy between the sections of planes. Funny how something so innocent – a field trip to see planes/shuttle-could bring up such a reaction in me almost 40 years later. I applaud all the pilots who flew missions and still do – they risk their life every time they take off. I was fooling myself back then but this trip brought it into focus what my soul knew the whole time.