By: Melissa Cronin
May 5, 2021
Since my husband and I moved to North Hero Island last November, I wake each day well-held by the still morning. Tranquility is our neighbor. With a population of a little more than eight hundred, uninvited noise is a rare occurrence. That can’t be said for the greater Burlington area, the largest population cluster in Vermont, where we lived for sixteen years before moving to this remote hamlet an hour north. For sixteen years we were city dwellers, which came with its benefits: walking, biking, or bus-distance to restaurants, grocery stores, the post office. The main drawback, at least for me, was noise pollution. Mufflerless motorcycles, sirens, the squeal of air brakes, low-flying helicopters. Then came the most traumatizing noise-maker of all– the F-35 Lightning II.
I remember the day well, when the first of what would soon be twenty F-35s landed at Burlington International Airport – less than a mile from our home. I was driving in the direction of the airport when a screeching hiss, combined with the bomb-blast of thunder, forced me to pull over to the side of the road. My fight-or-flight system kicked in, and my hand went for the door handle. My instinct was to run as fast as I could from what I believed to be a terrorist attack. Or was it a plane about to crash, I thought. Once my nervous system released its excess voltage, I dared to look out the window, and saw a gray bullet streaking across the blue sky. It was then, and only then, when I realized the nerve-deep screech was not an attack or plane about to crash. An F-35 had just taken off.[FULL ARTICLE]