Seattle Museum of Flight

Back in 2012 I began searching popular wedding venues in Seattle for my upcoming nuptials. I stumbled across the Seattle Museum of Flight and I knew that was the place for us to say “I do”. Before then I had no idea Seattle had such a museum.

Yesterday my husband and I returned to the museum. We try to go at least once a year and see what’s new. Last year we spent quite a bit of time in the J. Elroy McCaw Personal Courage Wing of the museum. This exhibit features aircraft from both WWI and WWII. I really enjoyed our visit last year and learned a lot about how aviation changed warfare. This year was almost a struggle however.

As I walked though the vast quiet cavern that held war machines of the past, I felt unsettled. So many people died in the two  wars that should have ended all wars. There’s no question the Axis Powers needed to be stopped. There’s no question Hitler was responsible for acts of evil on a scale most of the world had never seen. My grandparents generation had reason to fight, to rally together, to die for a just cause . What the United States was able to accomplish in military buildup between the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the end of WWII is staggering to say the least. Every single American did their part to support the war effort and because of that, victory was all but certain.

Today we live in a world that is technically at peace on a scale never seen in human history. But I don’t feel the peace my grandparents fought so hard for, not anymore. I feel a tension, a shift in direction, a reversal of course in the cause of peace and I wonder if America will once again be called to set aside their very lives in a war effort. I hope we can turn the tide, right the ship, and continue to find peaceful and diplomatic solutions to the problems facing our world. I want to believe the last great wars are behind us but I have a feeling we as a nation are coming to a crossroads. I have no faith our current leadership will make the right choices in stemming the tides of war.

We wandered over to the Apollo exhibit where I was sure my mood would be uplifted as space exploration has been a passion of mine since I was eight years old. I marveled at the Saturn V engine on display. I enjoyed seeing the standby Viking Lander on loan to the museum. I loved the lunar rover Boeing built for the later Apollo missions. Yet I couldn’t quite shake my melancholy as the accomplishments in space travel today can’t seem to compare to those of the late sixties and early seventies. We won the first leg of the Space Race and we should be leading the race to Mars. The final frontier has a way of bringing mankind together. How far could we go if we spent half as much on our imagination as we do on weapons of war?

As we continued through the rest of the museum I began to wonder what it would look like fifty years from now. Would there be a WWIII exhibit? Would there be a section dedicated to the Korean War, parts I and II? Will there be an exhibit dedicated to the first human Mars missions? I left the museum with a lot to consider and maybe that’s what places like this are supposed to leave you with.

The Seattle Museum of Flight has a lot to see and I would encourage anyone local to plan a visit in spite of my somber mood! They have an airpark where you can walk through an older Air Force One, a Concorde, and a 787 Dreamliner. It’s kid friendly and the gift shop has lots of cool inventory.

End Transmission

USS Turner Joy

My husband and I recently visited the USS Turner Joy in Bremerton, WA. The Turner Joy is a Forrest Sherman class destroyer built in Seattle in 1957. Most notable about her time in service: she fired the first naval shot of the Vietnam War, and the last.

As a former United States sailor, I couldn’t help but be reminded of my own time in service. The boat ‘smell’, the decking, the paint, sound-powered phones, battle lanterns, very little has changed from the days of the Turner Joy’s service to today.

Navy destroyers have been in the news a lot lately with the incidents involving the USS Fitzgerald and the USS John S. McCain. Both of these ships were involved in collisions that resulted in loss of life. It amazed me how these mighty warships were shredded by the ships that hit them. While aboard the Turner Joy, I would discover why.

At one point as I toured part of the engine room, I noted a change in temperature. I was on the starboard side of the #2 engine room and as I moved aft into a narrow space, it felt warmer however, no equipment was running. I reached out to the outboard bulkhead and it was warm! The sun was out and I could feel significant heat radiating from the bulkhead! It didn’t take me long to find an information sheet about the hull and learn why. How much metal stood between my hand and the sunshine outside? 3/8’s of an inch! THREE-EIGHTHS of an INCH! It’s no wonder they call destroyers tin cans and it’s no wonder the collisions mentioned above were so devastating!

These ships were designed for speed and evasion so to keep them light they give them just enough of a hull to hold everything together. The downside to this design, they crumble if they hit something or something hits them. After touring the Turner Joy I gained a lot of respect for my shipmates serving aboard tin cans!

I highly recommend visiting the Turner Joy for those of you in and around the Seattle area. It’s a short walk from the ferry pier in Bremerton and almost 90% of the ship is accessible!