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  • Writer's pictureDonald V. Watkins

The Blue Angels

Updated: Sep 6, 2022

By Donald V. Watkins

©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on October 22, 2017; Republished on

Memorial Day, May 28, 2018

On October 21, 2017, I traveled to Rome, Georgia to watch the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels fly their F/A-18 Hornet jets in tight, precision formation. It was a spectacular airshow. 

The awesome display of airpower and in-flight maneuvers was a visible reminder of America’s superior military might. The airshow was also a reminder to the crowd in attendance that all 325 million Americans live in the greatest nation the world has ever known. 

Even with our flaws and imperfections as a nation, we are still blessed to be Americans. As a circumstance of birth, Americans start out in life in the top echelon of the 7.6 billion people who populate this planet. 

America provides freedoms that many of us simply take for granted. She provides the best overall quality of life of any nation on the globe. And, the national security provided by our armed forces is second to none.

Prior to the airshow in Rome, Georgia, I had only seen the Blue Angels perform once before. When I was a small boy in the early 1950s, I watched them perform their maneuvers from the “Colored Only” section of an airfield in Memphis, Tennessee. 

In Rome, I watched the Blue Angels perform from a VIP box at the local airport. Nobody in attendance cared about my race or color. We were united for that moment in time in our feelings of extreme pride for the men and women who serve our nation in military uniforms.

As the Blue Angels sent chills down my spine with their incredible flight formations and barrel rolls, I took a mental flight through my six decades in America. During my lifetime, I have personally experienced a host of positive changes in American society since the first time I watched the Blue Angels fly. These changes have allowed me to: (a) drink out of any public water fountain that worked, (b) use any public toilet that worked, (c) buy food at any restaurant that serves the general public, (d) attend a college that I was qualified to enter, (e) desegregate The University of Alabama’s law school, (f) practice law in courtrooms throughout Alabama and across America, (g) charter and operate a full service commercial bank in the “Heart of Dixie” and the “Cradle of the Confederacy” that serves a racially diverse customer base, (h) build and operate an international waste-to-energy company that received the 2015 Trade Excellence Award from an Alabama governor, (i) serve on the board of directors of a national insurance company, (j) engage in oil and gas exploration in Africa, and (l) develop a broad-based and very diverse readership for my online news articles. 

These changes in American society occurred because ordinary Americans of interracial goodwill pushed for them to occur. They also occurred because America enjoyed strong and courageous moral leadership in its public officials during most of the past six decades.

When I looked back through time during the airshow in Rome, Georgia, I saw an America that was full of promise and an America where all things are still possible. 

There will always be occasional periods of retrenchment and small-minded people who will oppose our forward progress as a nation. Regardless of the politics and people who momentarily retard our progress, I am still very proud to be an American.

God Bless America and the men and women in uniform who secure our freedoms every day!

PHOTO: The Blue Angels

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Dot (Dorothy A.) Fowler
Dot (Dorothy A.) Fowler
31. Mai 2018

Very interesting addition to your original post. Since I, too, am a child of the 50s, I also have no memory of the Buffalo Soldiers being taught, or mention of the many Black soldiers in the Civil War. Black History Month has a much needed purpose, to make up for all the holes in our history books and classes about the many additions the Black race in all its rich and varied combinations, has contributed to our lives and culture.

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Donald V. Watkins
Donald V. Watkins
31. Mai 2018

On Memorial Day 2018, I republished this Blue Angels story on my website. It has a special meaning to me.

When I was a young elementary school student in Memphis, Tennessee in the early 1950s, I wanted to be an airplane pilot. I collected model airplanes with the money I saved from my newspaper route and hung these airplanes from the ceiling of my bedroom.

I abandoned this childhood dream because I never thought blacks would be allowed to pilot military airplanes. My segregation-era textbooks made no mention of the now-famous Tuskegee Airmen and their distinguished service to America during World War II.

In 1995, HBO released a blockbuster movie titled, “The Tuskegee Airmen”, starring Laurence Fishburne and…

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