This image was taken from Google Maps, I have marked the crash site. In some images you can see a barn and a log building just beside the fence and tree line that he crashed into. This is the log building:
I live about 4 miles from the airport. Seeing the planes come and go is normal. Seeing the jets from the air shows is also quite normal. The Air Force Thunderbirds routine takes them right over my house several times. In the past though the Blue Angels routine never brought them that close. This next photo gives an idea of how close they are with houses for scale:
We admired the jets, took a few photos(I only had my small Fuji, not the Canon with the zoom lens), talked with an older couple who were also looking at the planes. We could see the Angels across the runways, but my camera just wasn't good enough to get any photos. I intended to come back today with the better camera. We left after a few minutes, stopping at the Thornton's Gas Station, also seen in the above aerial image. Then we headed home. With my husband and daughter both home(school ended last week), we sat down to catch up on a few movies. We watched Mad Max:Fury Road, then Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It was during Star Wars that we started hearing the planes. Stopped and took a peak outside and saw the F-22 Raptor in the distance. Back to the movie that was only somewhat interrupted by the sound of jets. My husband is former Air Force, we love the sound of jets. And we knew that we would hear them again on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
And then near the end of the movie, we heard them really low and loud. We looked at each other because we knew that wasn't normal but shrugged it off, perhaps they had changed their routine. The movie ended, but I hadn't had my phone near me. I don't get texts often, and usually only from the people sitting in the room with my at the time. But kiddo checks her phone and says that my mom has been trying to text me-a Blue Angel has crashed. WHAT?! I race to the computer and to the local news channels and find that it's true. I am stunned. I am in shock. I am heartbroken because the pilot did not survive. I had feared this ever since we moved to Smyrna and found out about the air shows here. I love to watch them, but they terrify me. I will write more about that tomorrow.
Today I want to pray for the soldier's family. And think back to the other times I have seen them here at the air show. Here are a few photos from past years: