WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

A "mist bow" kicks off Triangle Flight of Honor!

Posted April 11, 2011

Some of you may have heard mention that I had the privilege of serving as a "Guardian" for three veterans from the World War II and Korean wars on last Wednesday's Triangle Flight of Honor. The weeks leading up to the flight and the trip itself were a terrific experience that included a visit to the WWII memorial itself, a stop at the Marine Barracks in Washington for an impressively precise silent drill team performance, a swing past the U.S. Air Force memorial, a visit to the Iwo Jima memorial (which included a moving moment when the group left a wreath behind, and also a moment in which the group as a whole honored those among them who actually served in the Iwo campaign), and finally a stop at Arlington National Cemetery where we quietly observed a wrath-laying ceremony and a changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

After the flight back to RDU, one of the best moments of the whole trip was the welcome that awaited the veterans in the airport atrium - a mass of cheering family, friends and folks who just wanted to come out and be supportive, with music, balloons, posters and flags. It was a really amazing moment walking into that with the vets. The whole thing reminded me how fortunate I am to work for a company that supports events like this, and grateful for the viewers who have helped so much with funding. The veterans I accompanied (Walter Brown, US Army - Bob Kruger, US Navy - Charles Irving, Jr, US Army) all seemed to really appreciate and enjoy the opportunity to take the trip. I've included a few of my photos here, and there is a more extensive slide show from a number of contributors elsewhere on our site. That is the source of the first photo, which for obvious reasons I couldn't have taken!

Tying all this in a slight way to weather (which was near-perfect for the day) and atmospheric phenomena, when we started the trip the veterans were honored with a "water cannon salute," and as you'll see from the second photo in the series, a moderate mist became visible before our part of the plane reached the heavier spray, and we happened to be lined up with the morning sun in just the right way that a nice "mist bow" cut right across the window on our side of the plane. This is produced in the very same way as rainbows, with sunlight being both refracted and reflected internally through water droplets, and the refraction angles differing by wavelength sufficiently to separate the white light into its component colors. It seemed like an auspicious start to the flight, or a good omen, and it certainly turned out that way for our group!

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