August 10, 2011

Before you go, a reminder

I had one last surprise on my trip. I'd always thought Midway Airport was named for a local neighborhood or its central geographical location. Couldn't be the battle, right? After all, O'Hare Airport is named for Butch O'Hare, who won the Medal of Honor for some fancy flying in the Pacific in the early days of the War. They wouldn't name both airports after Pacific War exploits, would they?

Yes, they would. Not only is it named for the Battle of Midway, there's a Dauntless above you as you rush to your gate.

I was struck by how small it was. At 33' long, the Dauntless was much smaller than the TBF Avenger torpedo bomber and about the same size as the Hellcat fighter that's parked on the Hornet. It's light and slow compared to those more modern aircraft. It gives you fresh respect for the people who flew them through a hail of tracers and sent four enemy aircraft carriers to the bottom of the sea, one day in 1942.

I always leave Chicago feeling a little more American. Worked again this time.


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