From 5-6:30 p.m. June 26, there was a meeting of the annual Summer Open Studio Tour of Whidbey Working Artists. The studio and residence are on Burchell Road.
When the meeting started, we could all hear the Growlers doing their exercises at the OLF Coupeville. But, as the gathering continued, the planes grew closer and louder.
It became overwhelming.
The Growler flights went right over us at lower altitudes, as if deliberately menacing and disruptive. We weren’t able to talk with one another at increasingly long intervals. People covered their ears and grimaced.
I, too, covered my ears and felt a mixture of horror, confusion and deep sorrow.
We wondered, were the pilots enjoying this act of dominance over the local population?
This was a shocking display by the Navy, one that seems growing in intensity. The random flight paths and lower altitudes of the Growlers would not reflect an essential part of the actual training exercises. What seems to be unfolding is a clear message that people, communities and livelihoods don’t matter, and that the environmental impacts of this flight activity are blatantly disregarded.
This display of military dominance is totally out of balance. It contradicts a responsibility and duty to protect our people and land. We are not the enemy. I am shocked to even write that.
I have always considered myself deeply patriotic. However, I now fear for our country when the military seems to be sending a threatening message to its own citizens.
Teri Jo Summer