Sitting on the Intrepid Museum's flight deck to watch the fourth of July fireworks was a thrill. Before the fireworks started, the New York City fireboats plied the Hudson River, whosing off their water hose displays, even turning them into red, white and blue cascades along the way.
And then the real show: fireworks being shot in the air simultaneously from four barges in the Hudson River...it doesn't get much better than that for pure spectacle. As one young man sitting behind me said, "How American. We celebrate the Fourth of July by blowing things up!"
Well, explode, blow up, crackle, snap, and thunder...these fireworks did all that and then some. It was especially fascinating to see the reflection of the fireworks in the windows of the high rise apartment buildings that flank the West Side highway. It must have been an amazing sight for occupants of those buildings as well.
Even more amazing, if that is possible, is the private tour we were privileged to experience on Friday on board the Intrepid. We were taken behind the scenes, to get up close and personal with the BlackBird, for example, one of the fastest, meanest jets America flew in enemy skies. It was more a reconnaissance plane and was used by the CIA. Totally wicked looking.
And to sit in the helicopter pilot's seat and envision the adrenalin rush of coming in on a firefight to rescue fellow army personnel in Vietnam, that was pretty cool, too.
I find the video footage in this renovated Intrepid Museum especially moving. There are many scenes from their archives, with voiceovers from the people who experienced it all...whether World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, and recent conflicts as well. The section of woman pilots who served during World War II is thrilling.
You cannot leave the Intrepid without feeling a tremendous sense of admiration for all those who have served their country and placed their lives in harm's way to do it. Several of the exhibits include comments from people who served that indicated they did what they did because it needed to be done, in order to keep the freedoms that we hold secure. You get an up-close-and-personal sense of the word "intrepid."