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April 17, 2007

Connected Diss: Thunder air show sends the wrong signal

The thing I love most about Thunder Over Louisville is the annual opportunity it affords every man, woman, child and dog in the Metro to get a feel for what it must sound like to live in a country that has been invaded by the U.S. military. Don’t get me wrong, I love the fireworks and the wonderful sense of community that brings hundreds of thousands of people and picnic baskets to the Waterfront. It’s the afternoon of strutting our military stuff that makes me uneasy. Clearly an event this large is a major part of the image that this community projects, and an examination of the message that it delivers is long overdue.I can hear it now — oh, lighten up, it’s just a show, go eat some burgoo … The problem is, these aircraft that roar over the city during the afternoon of Thunder were not designed for family fun. While there is a civilian component to the Air Show, most of what we see in the skies — the bombers, tankers, fighters and the like — are normally used to do stuff like carry troops, bomb buildings and kill people.According to the Thunder Web site (www.thunderoverlouisville.org), the Air Show was started as a “filler” to build up the crowd for the late evening fireworks. It is now one of the top five air shows in the country with more than 100 aircraft. As the organizers are quick to point out, the “amazing” military technology is a big crowd-pleaser. Not only do you have bombers and fighters in the air, but there are howitzers, humvees and rocket launchers on the ground to shock and awe the kiddies while they eat their cotton candy.The Air Show always sounds to me like a loud, in-your-face reality show version of the pixilated murder by joystick that is so easily committed in video games. But when we pretend that these planes are toys whose purpose is to entertain us, we (further) desensitize ourselves and our children and validate the perception that war is a game. The reality of modern militarism, however, is that wars are fought in cities just like Louisville, and they kill people just like you and me. My guess is that when a family in Iraq sees these same aircraft overhead, they are not at all entertained. More likely they fear for their homes and their lives. More likely, the mere sounds of these machines trigger their feelings. Pavlov taught us about that.The war in Iraq has become hugely unpopular, and the misuse of our military is a national disgrace. While we sit in our lawnchairs enjoying the annual rites of spring in the ’Ville, perhaps it is time to ask some hard questions about whether blindly watching these instruments of militarism loop-di-loop through our skies is the sort of message for which our community wants to be known. From where I sit, there is no excuse for continuing to cast military might as harmless entertainment.For those of you who share my dis-ease, there will be a Peaceful Skies Picnic at Iroquois Park on April 21 from 2-6 p.m. The event is sponsored by a number of local organizations, including the Louisville Friends Meeting, Interfaith Paths to Peace, Pax Christi Louisville, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Louisville Peace Action Community, the Kentucky Alliance, the Fairness Campaign and numerous other groups. According to the organizers, “Families are invited to gather, bring picnic food, enjoy music, fly kites, make paper airplanes and learn about peacemaking and other opportunities.” Let’s hope this is the beginning of serious dialogue about engendering a more life-affirming Metro image. For more information about the picnic, call 214-7322. Contact the writer at leo@leoweekly.com

The Air Show Celebrates Freedom Paid For By Brave Men's Lives

By stubojug

Wow, what a disconnected and jaded view of our military. If it wasn't for these brave men who volunteer for the armed forces, your freedom of movement, choice and speech would not exists. How quickly the younger generations are to never learn history. It is our military that has not only kept freedom alive here, but given it to other nations, Japan, Germany, etc. We would all be living under Nazi rule today were it not for our killing machines. And yes, they are killing machines, for killing the likes of sick men whose aim is to rule the world and erase freedom. Don't take your freedom for granted by smearing and disrespecting the very institution that has given it to you.

Embrace freedom and the men who gave their lives so that you can live free. The air show is a family event and all children need to be taught that freedom isn't free, it must be constantly maintained and fought for.

Learn from history. Do not ignorantly dismiss it.

points well made however....

By tommy2x4

who does the killing, the gun, or the guy pulling the trigger? you make valid points, however, your "dis" is a "mis"-guided aim at our service members.

i've never seen a weapon, get up on it's own and actually kill or hurt anyone. however, within this last week, i've seen a lunatic kill 32 people, before killing himself.

i use the same analogy for the military. it's just an extension of the above paragraph. when the military is used responsibly by the commander-in-chief, the military is hailed and lauded for their bravery, however, when the military is used irresponsible....well, you must watch the news and have seen the product of such irresponsibilities...

i say you redirect your "dis" at the guy in the white house instead of the people who volunteered to protect this country. people in uniform don't make foreign policy. you have to take that up with your reps and senators.

so go and celebrate the glory these men and women rightfully deserve. we should be so lucky to go to bed under the blanket of freedom that you want to "dis."