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Free Falling at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base

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My family isn’t the most exciting when it comes to Spring Break trips. We decided to leave California for Ohio. We got our rental car, and I proceeded to bury myself in my Gameboy, ignoring the signs that welcomed me to the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, which doubles as a plane museum. I was enjoying myself thoroughly at the museum until, out of the blue, fate took a nosedive. I learned that not only reading the signs, but also following what they say, can be most useful.

It was a hot summer day and the massive warehouse that housed the hundreds of planes on display was growing increasingly uncomfortable. My sister and I decided to venture off from our family group. This was nothing out of the ordinary since we were really close and enjoyed each other’s company much more than that of our overheated parents. The sweltering heat began to get to us as well, and eventually we decided to embark on a quest to find the coolest area of the museum.

Upon our travels we spotted a hilariously named group of airplane pilots, which we still make jokes to this day about, called the Wild Weasels. As entertaining as that was, we soon grew bored.

Apparently the Wild Weasels are no joking, or boring, matter, unless you’re 13. They flew at Mach 2 and took out anti-air missile silos in Vietnam. They are still around and still doing the same kind of sorties. Although, seeing a weasel fly at about 1,400 mph might hold some humor; yet I digress.

“Maybe we should just sit somewhere,” Jenna suggested out of helplessness.

“No, no,” I said.

I thought that we could find a cool liberation eventually if we looked hard enough. However, I soon found out just how large the warehouse was.

When you’re talking about an air force base, you’re not talking about benches. You’re also not talking about air conditioning, even in the bathrooms.

Since we were penniless children who still completely relied on our parents, whom we could no longer find, we became increasingly exhausted, with no means of procuring a beverage.

“Let’s just stay by the bathroom and drinking fountain,” Jenna said tiredly.

“But there is just no place to sit!” I complained.

“Well where else can we go, James?”

“OK, OK,” I conceded, because when we use each other’s names it means we are no longer suggesting.

The huge war planes seemed to loom over us, mocking our childish discomfort. Soon, however, we were no longer able to stand because of the heat from the sun reflecting off these daunting metal giants which could easily block signs warning onlookers not to touch them. I did see the signs, but immediately decided that I had no intention of touching the many weapons of the sky—causing my current agony.

What I saw, and longed for, was the railing that housed them. Never had a railing looked so appetizing, so remorseful, as it did at that moment.

I waited until Jenna was preoccupied.

I quickly made a break for it. It felt as if Hermes himself aided my flight. When my prize was before me I took great care with respect towards my actions. Ever so gracefully I balanced myself on the rail.

A feeling of release overcame my body and, without maintaining a clean grasp on my reality, I plummeted to the ground below, landing inside the exhibit.

I broke both my legs on impact.

My screams alerted my sister that something was horribly wrong, even though she found some humor in the original fall.

Jenna ran to the nearest adult, pleading for him to help me. She convinced him and he called the museum staff immediately. They rushed me to an ambulance that took me to the nearest hospital.

I learned that signs, no matter how you feel, hold merit. Never ignore them and never forget them. Respect them enough to read between the lines. I sometimes see people frankly ignoring the signs in public areas. This saddens me because I know that they may eventually take a trip similar to mine.

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