Content and photos by Lupita Peimbert.
People often forget that California continually acts as a cultural melting pot. Elements of US history are new to naturalized American citizens, because they did not grow up learning United States history. The influx of international talent to Silicon Valley and beyond over the last few years has created a relatively new population that tends to find local events and certain traditions quite interesting. Even those from other states are amused and excited to be part of the prevalent culture and community.
I moved to the United States and California when I was a young adult. Call me a softy but when I learn about former Presidents or relevant pieces of history, I get intrigued and moved. When I see a squadron making pirouettes up in the sky, I get amazed.
Every October, I love going to Fleet Week and seeing the Blue Angels flying over the San Francisco Bay Area. This year for the first time I was onboard the USS Potomac, a presidential yacht preserved as National Historic Landmark, anchored in Oakland.
What a treat, and a privilege!
We departed from Jack London Square in Oakland, sailed throughout the bay, passed under the Bay Bridge’s Eastern span, and stayed close to Alcatraz, looking right into San Francisco’s waterfront and the Embarcadero. The sky was the stage; a fog-covered Golden Gate Bridge was a backdrop.
The gentil staff and volunteers from the Potomac Association reminded us that President Franklin D. Roosevelt used the yacht since 1936 until his death nine years later, and Elvis Presley once owned it. It is beautiful, elegant, and just the right size for a cozy ride.
Standing on the deck while anticipating the somersault-like demonstrations in the sky by the Blue Angels felt adventurous already.
But when the intrepid pilots from the United States Navy and Marines began dancing in the air, playing aerobatics, leaving traces of smoke at times in color, and painting lane marks on the sky, it was plethoric sounds of amazement and expressions of awe from us in the yacht and hundreds around us in their boats, like little kids who cannot comprehend how things are done and yet, they can admire the level of craft and complexity of the things in display.
That is how many of us new, old, real or adopted Americans were on this Sunday afternoon: amazed, excited, and proud. The show was spectacular, and so it was seeing it from a moving landmark.
Lupita Peimbert is a bilingual blogger and storyteller who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.