Arsenal of Democracy

Dear Grandpa,

Today a couple dozen World War II aircraft buzzed the National Mall. They flew in honor of the 70th anniversary of VE Day.

You can picture the scene: you worked in DC for three decades after leaving the Pacific behind. They flew from the west over the Lincoln Memorial, past your old worksite at the White House, looking solid as they flew on towards the capitol dome.


It started just past noon. A lone airplane, crucifix-shaped, circled in advance, a herald of the formations to come. At ground level tourists and federal workers filled the humidity with their chattery lunchtime bustle. They turned their heads to the sky.

The aircraft growled low and healthy across the sky, still-powerful reminders of what your generation built, a legacy of strength, endurance, sacrifice. Ordinarily, nowadays, this airspace is restricted. Just a few weeks ago, a Florida postal worker was taken away in cuffs for landing his gyrocopter on the lawn of the capitol to deliver a letter protesting campaign finance. It’s a real shame, the restriction and the finance both.

Formation after formation flew past: More

4 thoughts on “Arsenal of Democracy

    • i was dropping a letter in the mailbox on my way over there. in the letter i was comparing our great 25-year-old toaster with the shabby electronics that come out nowadays. point being, old-timey stuff is way better than new stuff… including aircraft. imagine these 75-year-old warbirds still flying like that!


    • Lovely, lovely.

      I’m not sure that I would be in favor of allowing unknown aircraft to land on the White House lawn, but I sure do agree about campaign finance. Your grandparents and my parents wouldn’t recognize this country today. The power we have given to the plutocrats and the saturation of Congress with money are beyond anything they could imagine.

      You’re lucky. I haven’t had a father or a grandfather in many years. My father didn’t fight; he did his part working on the design of jet engines at Pratt Whitney.


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