In Opposition to the Air Show

On September 11th and 12th, the New Hampshire Air National Guard at Pease will host an aerial acrobatic display by the Air Forces’ “Thunderbirds” which consist of six F-16 Fighting Falcons. Moreover, visitors will be able to board the new transport and aerial fuel tanker, the Boeing KC-46A Pegasus. And, folks can view up close other planes such as F-35A Lightning II’s, F-16 Fighting Falcons, F-15C Eagles, A-10 Thunderbolts, and others! In addition, U.S. Special Ops Para Command teams will also be present to exhibit their skills. These include Army Rangers, Navy SEALS, and Marine Raiders. These trained experts in assassinations (see Jeremy Schahill’s book, Dirty Wars) will no doubt attract youngsters.There will be a “family area” and the New England Patriots’ plane to view, courtesy of owner Robert Kraft, an ardent Zionist supporter of an apartheid regime called Israel.

From the show’s sponsor’s website: “Thunder Over New Hampshire Air Show is pleased to present Patriot Plaza presented by Service Credit Union as this will be the heart of the Air Show and will be the hub of all activities. With more than 51 acres of space, Patriot Plaza will host dozens of aircraft displays, hands-on educational activities for kids of all ages, dining, concessions, and souvenir supplies for every air show fan, commercial exhibits, the Kidz Zone Play Area, and a variety of premium seating options.”

N.H. Veterans for Peace (N.H. VFP) has a different perspective on why such military air shows ought to be banned. N.H. VFP objects to the “show” at Portsmouth and to the “Blue Angels” upcoming appearance in Brunswick, Maine. We believe that displays by the “Thunderbirds” and “Blue Angels” tend to glorify war as it showcases these “fighter” planes, their speed, power, and noise. For the young and not so young, such exhibits are dazzling spectacles and “fun” to watch. Yet, not so much fun for the many innocent civilians who have been killed by Americans flying such planes and operating killer drones courtesy of Uncle Sam (and those of us who actually pay federal income taxes).

Reflecting on such spectacles, do we, as a society, want our impressionable young people to witness these machines and the skills of these pilots and others whose missions are designed to kill, maim and destroy other human beings?

Flying such planes over populated areas harms the environment, releasing exhaust that spews more greenhouse emissions that adds to global warming. Such performances cost millions of dollars, especially for fuel. As mentioned, such air shows act as a misleading recruitment incentive for many who may be people of color and lower economic status.

Clearly, the U.S.A. is a highly militarized country as we have been at war with someone for almost our entire history. Some folks who attend these performances and ceremonies call them terrific acts of patriotism. Yet a friend, Susan Hedrick, who attended an air show several years ago at Brunswick, Maine, once said “We’ve got to stop the Military-Industrial Complex. They benefit from shows like this.” One protest sign said: “Air Show? War Show!”

N.H. VFP agrees with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that Militarism is the curse of America, not forgetting Racism and Economic Inequality, and now, Climate Change. Politicians keep reminding us about how exceptional is the country we live in.We are bombarded with propaganda that tells us that America and its military are a force for good in the world, and occasionally, we are. However with an obscene Pentagon budget of nearly a trillion dollars, financial resources for people who need healthcare, educational support, and affordable housing, miss out while Ike’s Military-Industrial (Congressional) Complex grows richer and more politically powerful.

George Bernard Shaw wrote: “You will never have a quiet world till you knock the patriotism out of the human race.” Actually, N.H. VFP would alter this, especially as it relates to the U.S. of A., “till you knock the nationalism out of Americans.”

Will Thomas

Co-Coordinator, N.H. VFP

Auburn, N.H.

Leave a Comment