The sequester can’t stop the celebration at the U.S. Air Force Academy

The Class of 2013 is treated to a unique experience as a result of budget cuts. Photo: Denver Post. Flyover is seen in the upper right.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., June 2, 2013 — As the dreaded sequester digs in, the Air Force Academy graduated its 55th class Wednesday to a flyover of vintage World War II aircraft. Grounded by budget cuts aimed at causing the most impact, the Air Force Thunderbirds did not perform in their usual role flying over Falcon Stadium as the newly-commissioned second lieutenants were dismissed.

At least some members of the Class of 2013 felt cheated. Instead, they were blessed.


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The Air Force community stepped up. The Air Force Academy Foundation and others solicited donations for a project to provide a different kind of flyover. The planes came from the Texas Flying Legends Museum. At least some of the pilots were themselves Air Force Academy graduates, as is also the case when the Thunderbirds perform.

Nine planes were used in the flyover: two P-51D Mustangs, a B-25J bomber, a P-40K Warhawk, a FG-1D Corsair, FM-2P Wildcat, a TBM-3E Avenger, a P-47 Thunderbolt and a B-25 bomber. They could be seen and heard all around Colorado Springs on Memorial Day as they practiced their formations. The hum of reciprocating engines can be heard long before the planes come into view, a contrast to the rush and roar of the fast-moving jets of the Thunderbirds.

Because of their speed, one also has a chance to watch them longer as the formation, led by the B-25 bomber, flies past. Perhaps the new second lieutenants were able to ponder their place in the continuing history of our Air Force as they watched.

Certainly, up to this point at least, they’ve had a unique experience.


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Besides the sense of historical continuity, there are other lessons to be learned from the experience. While government actions have consequences, they are not always the intended ones. It is clear that the sequester cuts were intended to be public and painful. Their application across the federal government clearly bears the marks of central planning. There is probably a White House czar for that. Yet the lesson that was intended to be taught was not the lesson learned.

The real lesson is that Americans and people generally are endlessly creative and inventive. When obstacles are put in our path we always find ways to overcome them. Thunderbirds can’t perform? No big deal. We’ll figure something else out. A solution was found that was as good as or even better than the usual flyover. Maybe it will become a lasting tradition.

Central planning never works. Austrian economics teaches that. Adam Smith teaches that. The histories of the United States and the Soviet Union in the 20th century taught that. It’s just that, human nature being what it is, some people never give up trying to build their own utopias on the backs of everyone else.

This week we’ve seen what happens when the government tries to punish the people. We discover that we don’t need the government to do the things we want to do. We find that working together as individuals and communities of interest, we can do it better.

As the lyrics of Air Force song says: “Nothing can stop the U.S. Air Force.” Not even politics.

READ MORE from Al Maurer at Red Pill, Blue Pill


At The Voice of Liberty, we seek to advance the principles of liberty, because tyranny never sleeps.


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Al Maurer

Al Maurer is a political scientist and founder of The Voice of Liberty. He writes on topics of limited government and individual rights.

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