Last summer I was enjoying a day at the beach in Oakledge park with my family and some friends. Our four small children were thrilled to be in the water and combing the short stretch of sand for little treasures. As I stood where the bike path terminates along the back of the beach, I looked out and surveyed my brood thinking like a lifeguard… how long would it take me to get to my three-year-old who was wading in beyond bellybutton depth… what if my wife slipped and dropped our newborn in the water… typical father duty.
I can’t begin to describe then the shock when a fighter jet exploded through the air just above our heads. The earth shook. My ears rang. The jet, flying so low that we had no warning before it burst over the trees a hundred feet behind me, was on us in an instant.
I didn’t have one second to protect my family… not even an instant to lay a comforting hand on my oldest son who sat in his wheelchair next to me. Just BOOM!
Welcome to Burlington’s waterfront air show 2006.
For the past couple of weeks the messages against the air show have been multiplying across a number of neighborhood forums. This is a great use of Front Porch Forum. Other members have responded in support of the air show. Most of the comments break down along predictable lines… anti-war = anti-air show and vice versa.
Perhaps the growing number of people against the Iraq war who find the air show objectionable, and therefore wish it canceled, miss an opportunity. I still shake when I remember that instant… I had no idea what was happening, only that some terribly violent power was exploding over my children. I was powerless.
So, while my family was in no real danger, this facsimile of modern warfare in the homeland was a deep-felt reminder of what the U.S. military is doing to people in Iraq (and elsewhere) for longer than our involvement in WWII. My wife and I were able to comfort our kids as they all sobbed, terrified, with “it’s only the air show.” What do parents say in real war zones to their surviving children?
Thus the opportunity. Don’t protest the imitation; rather, use it to protest the real thing. While the military jets streak across the waterfront next summer, excite the local population to imagine that this isn’t a patriotic celebration of our might… instead, use it as a sobering moment of solidarity with humans caught up in war.
Imagine Burlington under attack. Imagine missiles from those jets slamming into the hospital, the water treatment plant, the power plant… bombs dropping on neighborhoods, schools, bridges. Those are our jets after all. Our guns (made in Burlington), our neighbors and relatives in uniform. Only seems fair that we all get an annual reminder of what we’re visiting on other communities half-way around the world.
The Local Onliner reports today:
Gannett, via its Planet Discover subsidiary, says it will start providing its newspapers and TV stations with search marketing help… In the last six months, newspapers have begun to really embrace search and extending their marketplace to the small businesses, he [Planet Discover Head Terry Millard] notes.
The end goal, Millard adds, is to expand the advertiser base. While Planet Discover’s local search guides compete with Yellow Pages, “it isn’t all Yellow Pages,” he emphasizes. There is a layer of media below that: the community shoppers, things like that. There is a huge market of businesses that aren’t going to spend $3,500 a year,” the average for Yellow Pages buys. “But they’ll spend $100 a month.”
Millard says the effort starts with Gannett, where Planet Discover has already launched search efforts for it 110 newspapers, and is now gearing up to convert its 21 TV stations. Other Planet Discover clients are also being asked to participate. They are mostly newspapers but also include some verticals such as travel.
It will be interesting to watch how this plays out at our local Gannett outlet, the Burlington Free Press.
At one point in my past, I led a 20-year-old trade association of New England utilities with about 30 employees. We took pride in the 100 or so letters we received each year from members who took the time to tell us how pleased they were with our work.
So I’m tickled pink (to channel my mother) that shiny new and relatively tiny Front Porch Forum hears from it’s happy members in droves. Here are three unsolicited comments received just this evening:
Thanks for creating such a great local resource – we really love getting our Front Porch Forums in our mailboxes. -A.P. in The Quarry Neighborhood Forum
I think that you are providing a wonderful service. I don’t know very many neighbors at this point, so I am hoping this will open the door to new friendships. I will certainly encourage people who are not signed up to do so. -J.E. in Bay Creek Neighborhood Forum
Another success: I just received, delivered to my door, 3 packages of diapers for my son. A wonderful town member did not want to throw away unused diapers, so she posted on Front Porch Forum. I replied and she dropped them off! I will be thanking her with some of my homemade bread this week. What a great way to connect, reuse, recycle and overall develop a wonderful sense of community! -H.A. in Westford Neighborhood Forum
More such comments live on our Testimonials page.