Military Flies High for McDonald's Air Show Spectators
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., May 7, 2006 Spectators packed a four-mile stretch of beach and spilled into the street here to watch military and civilian air teams show their stuff yesterday.
An estimated 1 million people crowded Fort Lauderdale Beach, Fla., May 6 and 7 for the 2006 McDonald's Air and Sea Show. Photo by Samantha L. Quigley
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
For those who missed the McDonald's Air and Sea Show yesterday or want to see it again, the show is being repeated today.
After a morning of power boat races and a beach invasion demonstration by the Navy and Marines, all eyes turned to the skies, where the Army's Golden Knights parachute team kicked things off, jumping from a height of 12,500 feet and landing on a target on the beach.
Single jet fly-bys dotted the afternoon schedule. One in particular fascinated Narda Hernandez, 10, of Lake Worth, Fla.
"I really liked the spy thingy," she said referring to the Air Force's B-2 stealth bomber that made a slow, graceful pass along the beach.
Aerobatic teams drew gasps with formations so tight onlookers thought they'd touch.
The beach wasn't the only place to find a military presence. Along Sunrise Boulevard, a usually busy artery to the beach that was closed for the festivities, military services were issuing challenges to those in the crowd willing to put their reputation on the line.
Matt McConville of Dumont, N.J., thought a hat was a worthy prize for doing 60 pushups at the Army display. He gave them an extra 15 just to seal the deal.
In town for the air and sea show, he thought the event was a positive thing for the military. "A lot of times (servicemembers) seem so far away, people don't understand them," he said.
These types of events narrow that distance between military and civilian, he said.
Other services were offering other physical challenges along with recruiting information.
For some, the military event had a more personal meaning. Nancy Hurlbut, a self-described "Florida Snowbird," has a son-in law in Iraq. "I'd like to think that all these people are out here supporting the troops," she said.
The event also provided the chance for parents to show their children what the military has to offer. Victor Farran of Fort Lauderdale wanted to make sure his foster sons are aware of all that's available to them. Because of the situations that land children in the foster system, they often have very little hope for the future, Farran said.
"I bring (the kids) to all the events I can," he said. "I like ... for them to see opportunities, for example the Air Force, Marines, all the armed forces. This gives them the opportunity to see beyond hopelessness."