OPINION – Yeah, I know that I lack tact; that comes from coming to the conclusion during 17 months of being a Marine grunt in Vietnam, there just isn’t enough time to waste a minute when something needs to be done or someone needs some “visiting with.” Outside of some indirect grousing and outright ankle-biting backstabbing, I haven’t been taken on through letters to the editor or comments to my articles, so most of you seem to like to hear it direct … and I know that doesn’t mean you agree with my rant. I don’t consider anonymous “vents” valid because I believe someone who won’t put their name on what they say about others doesn’t deserve to be listened to.
Anyway, I sat through the “Thunder Over Utah” air show Saturday and was mightily impressed with the aerobatic excellence of the Blue Angels, the Golden Knights, that guy in that really fast jet, and that other guy in the red and white prop-driven whirling dervish. I loved the school bus (although it would have gotten me to school way too fast). What will leave an indelible foul taste in my mouth is everything, in toto, about Kevin Walsh, Herb Gillen, and their band of merry privateers. I don’t know what their mission statement is but it probably parallels something P.T. Barnum once said (and this is off-a-little for sure), “There’s a Sucker born every minute.”
These guys bring in one of the top military heart throbs – the Blue Angels are loved by fellow military, loved by the American public, and experience world renown for their class style and precision. Where’s the discount for military veterans who also signed that they would die for their country if necessary? Where’s the discount for the disabled military veterans who also signed to die if necessary and gave parts of their bodies and/or minds for the American capitalistic principles that Mr. Walsh and his band of carpet baggers so rapaciously enjoy? Where’s the discount for the current uniform-wearing military that may have to give their life any time in the name of our besotted foreign policy? Nothing man, there ain’t no break for veterans!
You say you let all those 15-and-under in free and that’s a big concession for Utah families? Only an idiot would not see that you, through the concessionaires who paid through the nose to be a part of your money-making blitz, will make four or five times the amount of the entry fee in cokes, juices, ice cream, funnel cakes, and “I-saw-the-Blue-Angels” pins and hats. No Mr. Walsh, you left NOTHING on the table. I notice that you had abundant stretches of delay and “dead-air-time” for those kids to pour those profits into your pockets! I also noticed that the promised “Soft drinks and water all day” promise at least in the “Fighter Club” (highest consumer ticket – $80) was a lie.
I think the worst that the public can know about, however, is that you refused to allow the Veterans Affairs Mobile Vet Center to have a placement in your scant vendors and display areas on Saturday. The St. George Vet Centers’ Mission is to support our Combat Veterans in making the incredibly difficult transition back to father/mother, husband/wife, daughter/son or brother/sister from warrior. It is hard to get them into treatment before their marriages fail, they become addicted to one of several spoilants, run afoul of the law, or end their own life, but you want $1,400.00 to have the Mobile Vet Center, a visual reminder of incredible sacrifice and service, placed on “YOUR” airport.
Have you no shame Mr. Walsh? The MVC was not going to sell trinkets, food, drinks, medical marijuana, or give psychic readings; we just wanted to remind folks we’re here. We can’t even ask for donations and the employee(s) manning the MVC would have one of their days off in pursuit of our mission.
When the MVC was refused access at the gate on Saturday morning by Mr. Walsh’s team, some of our own St. Georgians (volunteers) attempted to contact those on the City team who had promised MVC admittance, but they were met with resistance. Our own great Mayor Jon Pike was informed and he immediately contacted the Airport Manager, Mr. Stahmeier, who ordered that the MVC be admitted on Sunday. I am grateful, Mr. Walsh, that our Mayor is NOT a patriot-for-hire like yourself, that he is a man who stands by and for our veterans and citizens while folks like you, clearly, stand only with your hand out.
The folks of St. George also need to know that the meet with the Southern Utah Veterans Home and the Blue Angels was anything but your doing Mr. Walsh; that was ALL St. Georgians and the United States Navy!
Thanks for bringing the Angels, the Golden Knights, and those two men in their spectacular machines but please don’t bump your head on the Delicate Arch as you leave our city.
Bruce Solomon is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
- US Navy Blue Angels give private audience to So. Utah veterans, a mutual gratitude
- Storm, lightning go away, Thunder Over Utah brings grand aerial, ground display; STGnews Videocast, Photos
- Army’s Golden Knights drop in at Thunder Over Utah; STGnews Photo Gallery
- What it takes to be a Blue Angel; STGnews Videocast, Photo Gallery
- Sky high with pilot Brad Wursten; STGnews Photo Gallery
- Before the show, airport buzzes, blusters; STGnews Photo Gallery
- Thunder Over Utah rundown: Tickets, parking, schedule, directions; STGnews Photo Gallery
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