‘Air force brat’ loves aircraft noise

Dear editor,

Maybe it's because I'm an air force brat born and bred, but I love aircraft noise.

Dear editor,

Maybe it’s because I’m an air force brat born and bred, but I love aircraft noise.

So before all those complainers who moved here knowing full well that Comox is home to an active air force base, I want to put in my two cents worth. Make that five cents worth — we don’t have pennies any more!

I love the sound of jets hurtling across the sky, the roar of afterburners, even the drone of the much-maligned glider tow planes.  These are the sights and sounds of my childhood, spent on a series of air force bases in Canada and Europe, the scenes of some of my most cherished, and sometimes painful memories.

I remember classes at my DND school being interrupted by the roar of jets drowning out the teachers. I remember the whole school having lunch at the sergeant’s mess one day when the snow was too thick for the buses to take us home for lunch. What a treat!

I remember being thrown to the ground by the shockwave as the Blue Angels broke the sound barrier directly overhead.

I remember the high points of my life: high school graduation, my courtship and wedding (to an airman and another air force brat!), the birth of my children — all taking place against a backdrop of aircraft noise.

And I remember tragedy, as classmates were escorted from a hushed classroom to be told that a father’s plane had gone down and he was missing, or worse.

But mostly I remember the good times, brought back in vivid detail by the sound of aircraft overhead. For me it is the sound of childhood security:  the planes are up there and all is right in my world.

I could talk about patriotism, pride in being Canadian, being glad that “our boys” (and girls) are up there patrolling the skies, but that isn’t what it’s all about for me. It’s nostalgia for the privileges of a happy childhood, priceless experiences, and unforgettable characters, thanks in large part to growing up an air force brat.

So to those who have moved here recently, or not so recently, and are irritated by the aircraft, my advice is — get over it. The base was here long before you and hopefully will be here for a very long time to come.  And I for one am glad it is.

Gail Lewis,

Comox Valley

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