05/12/07 — Proud: Air show should remind us of what airmen contribute

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Proud: Air show should remind us of what airmen contribute

If you have ever stood on a flight line or watched a Strike Eagle bank around McCall’s Restaurant as it heads for home, you know the thrill that comes with being Seymour Johnson Air Force Base’s hometown.

And if you were at the air show festivities this weekend, you are proud, humble and a little grateful as well.

The 4th Fighter Wing and the 916th Air Refueling Wing are full of men and women who devote their lives to keeping this country safe. And this weekend, they took some time off to share a gift with their community — Wings Over Wayne.

If you can watch the Blue Angels fly overhead or listen to the roar of an F-15E engine and not get a tear in your eye and have your heart swell up a little bit, you are missing the joy of being the host community for such a distinguished and courageous team at Seymour Johnson.

There are hundreds of stories of moments of bravery by men and women in both wings — and generations of pilots, maintainers and others who served their country with little fanfare. They don’t ask for that recognition or want it — they were just doing their jobs.

There are many who will cite the economic impact of the base — the money it contributes to this community as well as the jobs and futures — as reason to support it.

But what this weekend should have reminded us all is that this base also gives Wayne County heart.

There will be airmen in and out of the base and commanders will come and go. That is the nature of military life. But each and every one of those who serve should know that while they are here — and even after they have moved on — they are home.

The air show was Seymour Johnson AFB’s gift to the community. Our gift in return is a simple thank you to the airmen and their families for all they do for us every day.

We are proud to be their adopted hometown.

Published in Editorials on May 12, 2007 6:08 PM