This morning when I set foot outside, I heard the unmistakable sound of Canadian geese honking away overhead. You know the sound – it is a part of the annual ritual of fall as the geese head southward, right? Who hasn’t delighted in looking skyward to see the V-shaped formation in which they fly?
I remember watching them when I was just a kid back in Iowa. And this morning, all that honking took me back to those days. I looked skyward and saw one of the largest V’s that I’d ever seen. It didn’t take too long and they were past me, but I thought I heard more coming to my left…but thought perhaps it was just the sounds echoing off the trees that was deceiving me. Imagine my surprise when I walked past that tree and looked up and there was an even larger group of geese than the one I’d just witnessed. And behind that, another huge group, and another and another and another….literally as far as the eye could see to the east. I don’t know how many geese there were in all those formations, but there must have been at least 1500-2000 – maybe more. It was a glorious sight. I have NEVER EVER seen so many geese in the air at one time.
Part of what made it strange was that they were flying from the east to the west. Perhaps they’d dined on fermented corn the night before and were tipsy. I don’t know.
So, what does that have to do with today’s photo that I took in 2006 of the B-1 bomber near Omaha, Nebraska? Admittedly, not much…but I thought about how those geese could be “bombing” their way across the landscape. I didn’t cover my head as a means of protection (I was wearing my hat that I take with me when I walk the dog), but surely as many geese as there were must have bombed a few windshields on cars and rooftops. So, there’s the connection….the geese are like every other bird – they are miniature bombers, so this fall, be careful if you hear honking overhead! You may get bombed!!!!
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: On this day in 1962, the White House press corps was told that President John F. Kennedy has a cold; in reality, he was holding secret meetings with advisors on the eve of ordering a blockade of Cuba.
Kennedy was in Seattle and scheduled to attend the Seattle Century 21 World’s Fair when his press secretary announced that he had contracted an “upper respiratory infection.” The president then flew back to Washington, where he supposedly went to bed to recover from his cold.
Four days earlier, Kennedy had seen photographic proof that the Soviets were building 40 ballistic missile sites on the island of Cuba—within striking distance of the United States. Kennedy’s supposed bed rest was actually a marathon secret session with advisors to decide upon a response to the Soviet action. The group believed that Kennedy had three choices: to negotiate with the Russians to remove the missiles; to bomb the missile sites in Cuba; or implement a naval blockade of the island. Kennedy chose to blockade Cuba, deciding to bomb the missile sites only if further action proved necessary.
The blockade began October 21 and, the next day, Kennedy delivered a public address alerting Americans to the situation and calling on Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev to remove the missiles or face retaliation by the United States. Khrushchev responded by sending more ships—possibly carrying military cargo—toward Cuba and allowing construction at the sites to continue. Over the following six days, the Cuban Missile Crisis, as it is now known, brought the world to the brink of global nuclear war while the two leaders engaged in tense negotiations via telegram and letter.
By October 28, Kennedy and Khrushchev had reached a settlement and people on both sides of the conflict breathed a collective but wary sigh of relief. The Cuban missile sites were dismantled and, in return, Kennedy agreed to close U.S. missile sites in Turkey.
TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Edward VII had a highly respected reputation as a leader of fashion. As a result, it was assumed he invented the world-famous Windsor knot after he abdicated in 1936 and became Duke of Windsor. According to Sarah Giddings, fashion trend researcher, the tie knot may well have been the brainchild of his father, George V. George was photographed in the 1920s wearing a tie knotted in what appeared to be the never-before-seen Windsor knot.