Sunday, August 16, 2009

Plane Glory

My boy is mad about planes. He's only 20 months old but everytime he sees one he points and starts yabbering.

So today I took him to an airshow. I wasn't expecting a great deal beyond boredom and nowhere to change his nappy yet, goodness, was I wrong.

Watching all manner of aircraft take off, jig around in the air, pretend to be dog-fighting, about to drop a payload etc was riveting (as was watching Wilf's delight with proceedings).

The crowning moment came with the Spitfire. It did a kind of duel, not with a Messerschmitt but with an American Mustang (much the superior plane, being 5 years later).

Seeing the Spitfire rise, bank and descend against an azure August sky made my heart soar and my eyes prick with primitive pride.

For these aircraft, and the people in them, during a period of only a few days,over similar fields and skies, sixty-nine years earlier, basically gave Hitler pause for thought. Aerial defeat would have made a sea-borne assualt on the UK eminently more possible.

As the Spitfire touched down and its pilot emerged, I didn't think about the few to whom we owe so much etc but about the fact that sometimes our lives contain very short periods - days, hours, minutes that are of definitive importance.

Not to the future of the free world perhaps but to ourselves, the people around us and, for the odd person, wider society. Moments which shape everything else forever.

I can think of two, maybe three in my own life. Two are intensely personal, the third being the day I decided to leave my job to set up Speaking Up.

And then Wilf distracted me from my reverie with a squeal that announced the arrival of a Lancaster Bomber...


Anonymous said...

Nice to see the take off of aircraft..

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Ian said...

I saw a Lancaster fly over my village - its on the flight path for Duxford so I assume thats where you were. And I bet it was the same Lancaster you saw!!