The military recently joined public efforts to show respect for frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the past week, Air Force and Navy jets performed fly overs to “salute” frontline workers, with more planned in the near future. Initial fly overs took place in large cities, such as Atlanta, New York, and Washington D.C, but more cities are scheduled to participate soon. Some of the jets focused on city centers while others made special trips to hospitals. The act of solidarity was met with mixed reviews. Some felt the costly act was ill timed and represented a premature declaration of victory over the virus. Others felt grateful for the unifying experience and sign of respect.
These fly overs do not run cheap. Reported costs range from $36,000 to $50,000 per hour of flight depending on who is reporting. Critics of the fly overs argue that the money could be better spent, perhaps on personal protective equipment for military personnel or research for vaccinations. Others explain they would prefer the government to display their gratitude in direct monetary forms, such as pay increases for frontline workers or continued stimulus checks.
However, for those who enjoy and appreciate the show, it is a special honor for them to be the honorees of a long standing military tradition. It is a reminder to them that their efforts are not in vain and that America supports and needs them.