The Blue Angels. Really, what’s the big deal?

These days not much leaves me slack-jawed. Awed. Nope. Not even a triple-decker bacon cheeseburger medium rare. Then last weekend, I saw the Navy’s Blue Angels cavorting and swirling as hummingbirds over the San Francisco Bay.

Our visit to the Bay Area coincided with the annual Fleet Week festivities and performance by the Blue Angels. Every place we went, people buzzed with anticipation.

“Are you in town to see the Blue Angels?”

“The wharf will be packed with the Blue Angels performing today.”

“They forecasted fog, but it looks like the weather will be perfect for the Blue Angels.”

“Maybe if you are lucky, you can be on the ferry to Alcatraz when the Blue Angels perform.”

We were inside shopping at Fisherman’s Wharf and the roar of a practicing jet reverberated overheard. “Perfect timing for my break,” said the young clerk as he darted outside.

Good grief. What was big deal?

I love ‘Merica as much as the next person. Consider myself patriotic. We fly Old Glory. But getting all worked up about jets swooping around playing tic-tac-toe in the sky?

Seen it. Tom Cruise in some movie thirty-some years ago. Highway to the danger zone. Yada, yada, yada. Ride into the danger zone. Big whoop.

Then we waited at Pier 41 to board a ferry to Sausalito as the blue jets roared over the bay.

After I pulled my bottom jaw off the wharf, I tweeted this photo my husband took.


I gave up trying to take photos with my phone. Anything I could have captured would have been a mimeograph compared to a three-dimensional color copy.

Afterwards, every server, store clerk, random guy with bike waiting in line for the ferry back to San Francisco talked Blue Angels.

Later in the evening, we too boarded the ferry for the ride back. Sitting in the cold and wind on the upper deck, I struck up a conversation with a woman huddled on the bench across from me. She was a college professor from a conservative college in a conservative state. Raised in the East, she had gone to school in California and had come to San Francisco for the weekend “to find balanced thought.” We traded stories about our visits.  She was one of the many people who had boarded the ferry with a bike after riding across the Golden Gate Bridge. I asked her about the ride over which she said was great and  “with the Blue Angels flying over . . .”

“The Blue Angels?” I gushed.

For the next ten minutes we discussed the Blue Angels as schoolgirls fawning over intricate details of Donny Osmond and Bobby Sherman on the cover of Tiger Beat.

“I tell my students there are many kinds of intelligence. There aren’t many people with higher spacial intelligence than those pilots.”


I get nervous changing lanes at 65 mph on the interstate in my $20,000 Nissan, which btw is attached to the ground.

After watching those Navy pilots flying Spirogragh formations — upside down, right side up, wingtip to wingtip, at speeds of 700 mph in a $56,000,000 aircraft — they get high marks for intelligence anyway you measure it.

I’ve reached an age where not much leaves me awed but the Blue Angels did last weekend.

Or maybe it’s because I’ve reached an age where life experience allows me an educated inkling what it must take to fly like that.

I’m old enough to know life isn’t one big computer game or star fighter movie. That incredibly mere mortals sat at the controls of those jets.

Well, maybe mere mortal is a stretch.

It’s more like Wonder Woman and Jack Bauer had a baby.

Add a pinch of Spidey-blood for good measure.




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4 responses to “The Blue Angels. Really, what’s the big deal?”

  1. jani says:

    We saw them last year in Lynchburg… Amazing!
    And Crazy!

  2. Seeing the Blue Angels is ALMOST as cool as the eclipse. At least it happens more often. Though in the past twelve years with the opportunity to go at least six times, the weather was cloud free twice. But it is SOOOO awesome isn’t it? I imagine even more so over the San Franciso Bay.

    P.S. I tried to comment on your eclipse post but comments were closed.

    • Jamie Miles says:

      Kenya. The weather was perfect. The Golden Gate Bridge. And then within 48 hours those unbelievable, scary wildfires started, covering the Bay with smoke. (And good grief about the comments closed. I probably pressed the wrong thing. Oy.)



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