The Pima Air Museum is an equal opportunity museum.

It has fighter planes, bombers, helicopters, experimental dreams, cargo planes, There are hangers filled with donated airplanes of every vintage, staffed with volunteers, and a large open field where aircraft have been retired from service. There are early primitive planes, and then more modern sleek riveted birds made out of metal, plastic and fiberglass that fly higher, faster, quieter.

From the bomber’s seat in the nose of a museum B-52, tattooed with buxom women, the bomber squinted through his viewfinder at the enemy target below. In his gun sights were manufacturing plants, bridges, military bases, railroad tracks, airstrips – strategic targets.

With the gentle push of a button, the bomber dropped his death in pill like packages, watched his bombs spiral towards Earth like wounded birds. From high in the clouds, airmen, long after their missions were complete, could hear screams in their minds, in their dreams see metal and stone ripping into people, tearing flesh.

Most planes on display in the museum have curved lines and their angles are sharp. Rivets on the older planes were done by hand by women in California factories and a volunteer tells Alan and I how Los Angeles plants, in WW11, were turning out one B-52 bomber a day that were immediately put into the war’s service and turned the war effort around.

Old dreams of flying like birds have come true and old dreams of conquering the world haven’t gone away.

The next Caesar, Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, Hitler is just around time’s bend, and, when they arrive, there will be plenty of firepower at their disposal.

Making weapons is a human preoccupation.

 

 

 

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