Flyin' High with the Blues
We seem to love a good reason to celebrate, outdoors.
And why not? As things are, we spend far too much time focused on work and staring at our phones. Having an event that is worthwhile - to take time off, or plan a holiday around - is well worth the fanfare.
One such celebration is the annual Blue Angels annual airshow on Pensacola beach. Those of us who've watched them for years fondly call them "the Blues". And these remarkable pilots are heroes in our eyes. Their dedication, and commitment to perfection in precision is nothing short of incredible to watch. The show never disappoints, but sometimes the weather can be less than cooperative. However, that wasn't the case this year.
Everything was near perfect.
The Blue Angels - based out of the Pensacola Naval Air Station, actually fly all over the country throughout the year, and the show is always amazing, but there something about the airshow on the beach that is extraordinary. It's home, familiar, and it's dramatic - because they fly so very close to the ground and love to thrill the crowd with surprises. These guys literally seem to appear out of nowhere and buzz the crowded bays and beaches with thunderous fly-bys.
Every year the attendance increases. This year was a record - over 100,000!
I don’t think I’ve ever seen that kind of crowd packed into - and all over the beaches.
And here is what strikes me in this kind of setting. Almost everyone is happy. Very happy - to be there, and to enjoy and share in the event with others.
And it costs nothing.
Only the dollar it takes to enter the island at the toll booth. But it's worth far more than what we pay ridiculous amounts for to watch sports and entertainment events - because it brings large groups of all ages, together.
We show up, in huge numbers for July 4 festivities - and this gives us hope, as a country - to see that these festivities are still appreciated and revered as a part of our 'Americana'. Yet, it also appears that we are using these types of celebrations as an escape, and a release, of sorts - and for good reason.
Of course, every day can't be a celebration, or there would never be anything special about those times. The feasts, festivals, holidays, and celebrations get us out of routine, separate us from the mundane, and give us a reason to truly connect and enjoy one another.
Personally, I believe we need to create more, and frequent, personal celebrations and events for (and including) friends and family - to experience this often, and to a greater extent.
Other countries put much greater emphasis on this than we do in the States.
They work less hours, take more, and longer, holidays (days off) and put more emphasis on festivities that involve family. It’s curious how we arrived at such a strong emphasis on work demanding so much of our lives, but that’s where we are in this country — and I’m hoping its something that the millennial generation will finally change around. In general, their values are placed higher on flexibility, freedom, and doing something meaningful and fulfilling, rather than being highly driven to make tons of money and losing their life along the way. They’ve been the children of the generation that did that, and observed both parents focused on work more than anything else - often at the expense of spending time together as a family.
It was like that for my family.
We were sucked into “the daily grind” that actually never ended. The tendency is to think that the work load will lighten up when you achieve “x” — and that day usually doesn’t arrive until the children are grown and gone. Ironically, we don’t know what to do with ourselves at that point, because we have focused on work for so long… “it’s what we do.”
I never enjoyed that process. And I’m not real keen on what we missed out on as a family. Memories we never created. I regret that my adult children remember that we worked ‘all the time’. No doubt, it will impact how they pursue their own way of making a living, and have an affect on conscious choices to choose family time, festivities, vacations, get-aways and celebrations over work demands.
Hopefully, this generation will “just say no” to the current emphasis Americans place on success being defined by wealth accumulation from a work-driven lifestyle.
Many of our values have gone wayward as a country, and this is only one of them.
Watching the Blue Angels, and the joy, the thrill, and the fun written all over everyone sure causes the desire for more times like this. Times where we come together as families, communities, and cities to enjoy one another in the revelry — and to appreciate and highly value the blessings we have as a people, and as a country. If not, there is a risk that while we are working so hard, for something that will not go with us when we die — that it will all be taken from us, and we will truly become servants and slaves to the money vortex that takes many families down in the process.
The greatest joy comes from friends and families being together and doing together. Building relationships is a lasting legacy — and doing so doesn’t require success and money.
IT ONLY NEEDS OUR TIME.
Thank you, Blue Angels, for your commitment to give us one of the many amazing feats to celebrate about the men and women in military service who serve to protect the freedom, the beauty — and the great people — of this wonderful country.