Every year, as the summer winds down and school is getting ready to begin, the US Air Force and Navy perform on Lake Michigan and fly jets over the lake and the city of Chicago. Thousands crowd onto the North Avenue beach to watch the spectacle. Families come into the city from the suburbs to watch the jets perform while speakers blare "Rock me like a Hurricane."
While the city loves to tout the event as a family activity, fun for the whole city, and a major tourist draw, many Chicago residents dislike the event. They consider the Armed forces to be outsiders intruding on an anti-war city. While many of my friends have picketed at the Air and Water Show, handing out fliers and trying to educate the public about the war, I sought out what the greater Chicago community felt about the show. Here are what some members of the Chicago community felt about the event.
A recording studio owner, "I'm pissed. I was supposed to be recording a band, but those jets make so much noise they end up on the tracks. I'm losing money because of this stupid air and water show."
A Vietnam war veteran, "In Vietnam, the Vietnamese women would use home made missiles to take down these jets that were bombing their homeland. Could you imagine the BALLS these women had? They were fighting for their freedom, that's what I think of every time I see these jets flying, Vietnamese women blowing them out of the sky."
A Sierra Club member, "I'm concerned about the environmental impact of the air and water show. The jet flying and creating so much noise must disturb the birds that fly in this area. It also wastes a lot of gas, and for what? To entertain a bunch of kids?"
A college student, "I hope the army packs up it's toys and heads home soon."
A mother of a high school student, "It worries me that the city is letting the armed forces recruit our children for the war machine. It's bad enough that we have to deal with recruiters in our schools, but this noise and the show, is really scary."
A bartender, "I have to work nights, but these jets keep me up during the day, when I usually sleep."
A Pakistani taxi driver, "This reminds me of home. The US has bombed our country several times, and to see them glorify war, is sad. I came to this country looking to escape war, and here you glorify it with these loud jets. Every time I hear one, it makes me think of how the people in Iraq must feel."