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Jones Beach air show: a peace perspective

Noting that the Jones Beach air show on Memorial Day weekend is largely about the military showing its might, the local peace groups staged a counter-demonstration. They made Newsday with their perspective. Full story at Newsday: here. (excerpt at read more)

(excerpt from) Newsday
Spectators flock to Jones Beach for air show

by Keith Herbert / May 23, 2009, 1:53 PM EDT

Crowding the windswept sands at Jones Beach State Park, hundreds of people shaded their eyes, craned their necks and looked into blue sunny skies at aircraft performing in Saturday’s extravaganza show…

The air show crowd had filled the beach and boardwalk by 11 a.m. The five-hour show also features the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and the U.S. Army Golden Eagle Parachute team…

In stark counterpoint to the exhibitions by military aircraft, about 50 anti-war activists from various peace groups gathered on the boardwalk to pray and read aloud the names of U.S. servicemen and servicewomen killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The demonstration was organized by Pax Christi, a Catholic peace group, which said almost 5,000 Americans troops and at least 150,000 Iraqi and Afghani civilians have died as a result of the wars.

“The real reason for those planes is mass destruction,” said Ed Ciaccio, one of the demonstrators.

The air show continues Sunday.

2 Responses

  1. The fact of the matter is that this is MEMORIAL Day, folks, not Armed Forces Day, Military Technology Day, etc. It is ONLY the day that our nation sets aside to remember and grieve those who made the ultimate sacrifice for this nation. America needs to be reminded that Memorial Day is not about picnics, or barbecues, or sales at the mall. It is certainly not about celebrating the technology of war or exploiting their sacrifice of our servicemen and women for marketing purposes. The following is an excerpt from Bethpage Federal Credit Unions Air Show Website (http://www.jonesbeachairshow.com/ )

    “If your company would like to go beyond typical marketing … Huge family participation coupled with the extraordinary setting make the air show at Jones Beach a great opportunity for corporate sponsorship and VIP hospitality. Our participating sponsors link their brand with the exciting, patriotic event as they host their most valued clients, employees, family and friends in a truly first class setting. Hospitality tents lined up along the beachfront offer private beach enclosures and can be tailored to meet each sponsor’s specific marketing aim … The Business Package includes 10 Tickets to the Jones Beach VIP Tent, and 4 VIP Parking Passes and you may also hang a small Corporate Banner inside the tent.” Cost :$2000.00

    This blatant commercialization of patriotic sentiment and the sacrifices of Americans in war is an outrage to anyone who has proudly wore the uniform, loves America, and who understands and appreciates the nature of sacrifice and service to Country. Further it is an insult to those who made the greatest sacrifice in our behalf and to their families who will never again caress their son, daughter, husband, or wife … and will never recover from their loss.

    If you get off on the machinery of death and destruction, fine. But get your kicks on another day of the year. Not on the one day that honors the sacrifices of my fallen comrades. Wake up America!!!

  2. Many thanks, Mac, for your profound thoughts.

    I did not realize about the corporate sponsorship. That is sickening.

    There should be a way to honor people who have died in our wars, without perpetuating the belief that war is good. It is a tricky task. Not sure which group is truly up to it. I guess there are some good folk songs that come close.

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