Too often lately we find ourselves mourning the loss of a military member. This week is no exception. Our beloved Blue Angels, the US Navy flight demonstration team based in Pensacola, suffered a horrific loss on Thursday as the team was practicing for an air show in Smyrna, Tn.. Capt. Jeff Cuss
By all accounts, Capt. Kuss was the epitome of the Blues’ spirit, showing kindness always and electrifying youngsters so much so that they want to wear the blue flight suit when they grow up. In fact, the story goes that Kuss was the epitome of selfless service, choosing not to eject from his plane to protect innocent bystanders from being injured from his crash. The fight to survive is a natural instinct/reflex that we have. We run from situations that could do us harm. And in the case of this crash, Kuss didn’t run – he didn’t pull the ejection cord. In those seconds, it is unimaginable what the thought process must be to make that decision knowing you will die, and the will to protect others takes over. He kept the plane out of neighborhoods and crashed it where no one would be hurt. Is there anything more honorable than that? A man laid down his life, willingly, so that others, people he had never met, would live.
From all of the stories and posts we have read in the news and social media, the town of Smyrna is now wrapping its arms around our area. It is reminiscent of how Navarre reacted when the Black Hawk went down. At the time we wondered how the towns of Hammond, Louisiana and Camp Lejeune, North Carolina felt to see such support from strangers. Now we know and it is a great feeling. The town of Smyrna is mourning with us and letting us know that they are standing with us. Just like we did a year and a couple of months ago. In fact, they are already working towards building a memorial in honor of Capt. Kuss. And they have held a candlelight memorial ceremony.
The truly awe inspiring thing has been to see the messages from around the country and even around the world. The Blue Angels’ impact is so far reaching, millions of people have seen them perform and all have stared in wonder and gasped in awe of the F/A 18 Hornets flying with precision only inches apart. They are the best of the best and we are honored and proud to have them based in our area.
Today, tomorrow and for a while to come they will mourn, and so will we. To Capt. Kuss and those who have gone on before, we’ve got your six.