At the moment, I’m sitting in my apartment and feeling grateful for double-paned windows.
The Blue Angels are controversial, for good reason. Although they offer exciting entertainment and serve as good public relations for the Armed Forces, there have been fatal accidents. To my knowledge, none of those accidents injured anyone on the ground because the planes were flying over sparsely populated areas.
I never heard of The Blue Angels until 1984, when they conducted an unannounced rehearsal during the work week over San Francisco. Some people in the City knew the air show was scheduled for that weekend, but the rest of us didn’t know what to make of the intimidating airplanes or the earsplitting noise.
On that afternoon, I was on the sidewalk on Polk Street, doing the same thing as everyone else. We would look up as the planes passed directly above us, and then look at each other. The expressions on people’s faces were memorable. The possibility that the Cold War had taken a dramatic turn must have occurred to some of them.
Then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein contacted the Navy Department, and allegedly chewed out someone for scaring us. There wasn’t much else she could do, really.
Whether these air shows are in the best interest of San Francisco’s residents is debatable. Fleet Week brings visitors and money into the City, after the peak travel season ends. The noise is traumatic for humans and more so for animals, who can’t grasp the concept. Some of us also suspect the same types of accidents which have happened elsewhere may be repeated here, possibly over a residential neighborhood.
What do you think?