“Thank you for listening”
More than a year after the F-35 arrived at BTV, voices from its flight path remained unheard. Until now: A documentary film scooped local news media
VTDigger, Seven Days, NBC5, WCAX3, and ABC10 all gave terrific coverage to the film itself in the weeks before its release. But for the previous 19 months, with one exception, they all failed to give voice to people physically affected by the F-35 jets, notwithstanding hundreds of complaints submitted via online F-35 Report and Complaint Forms and hundreds more submitted directly to the Vermont National Guard.
The film “Jet Line: Voicemails From the Flight Path,” that premiered last night, actually begins with that very point in a text introduction splashed across the screen: “In 2019 the Vermont National Guard celebrated the arrival of F-35 fighter jets to the Burlington International Airport. More than a year later, voices from the flight path remain unheard.”
125 responded to posted flyers and recorded their anonymous voicemails. With beautiful Vermont visuals, 12 of those voices from the flight path are in the film. The rest can be heard at https://archive.org/details/jet-line-voicemails-from-the-flight-path
900 registered to attend the premier last night--itself a powerful demonstration of the depth of feeling about F-35 training flights in a city.
If you missed that screening, you can see the 12-minute film here:
So simple, yet so brilliant a way to give voice to those in the F-35 flightpath in the densely populated cities and towns adjacent the airport.
Here is a full transcript of all 12 voices:
It is ridiculous that the people involved in the running of Vermont and specifically the area of Burlington Vermont will allow 20 F-35 supersonic jets to be used landing and taking off in the center of a city. It is unconscionable that this would be allowed.
Hello. One of the F-35s just went by. It’s horrifying. I don't feel safe with the F-35. I feel that something could go wrong and we would all be in danger. Please stop the F-35. It does not belong here.
The jets are great, and I wish they would fly more often. And I wish they would fly over Burlington 4 or 5 times a day.
I was outside walking on the streets of Winooski yesterday when three F-35s flew over. It was deafening. The impact of this noise, it affects not just your hearing but your whole body. The vibration. I covered my ears. It did almost no good. To describe this as disturbing is a complete understatement. It is a violent sensory assault. So these lying scumbags who brought this plane here, like Leahy, first of all, but all of these opportunists, parasites, bootlickers, who supported this thing, may they all rot in hell for what they are doing to this community.
On the days when I know that the F-35s won't be flying, so that's some of the weekend and Monday there is a deep quiet that settles in me at a visceral level. A kind of peace. It's very scattering to have the sound of them so close. It affects us deep in our hearts in our viscera. It affects us in a way that's hard to say. It’s the wrong place to base the F-35s. It's not working.
We were lied-to. Repeatedly lied-to about how loud those jets are. And every time when people asked them about that, they said, “oh well, we can’t give you a number about the decibels.” Bullshit. We were lied to.
When the jets fly over my blood pressure has risen as far as 190 over 100. It’s not safe for me. I have been recording, getting recordings as high as 125 decibels 1-2-3-4-5 jets one after another severely shaking my house and rattling the windows. Very seriously disturbing to my health and to my well-being. Please take note of my complaint. I call all the time. My complaints are not registered. I've written. VTANG does not respond to my complaints. The whole experience has been very debilitating. Thank you for listening.
Everybody who objects to the F-35 need to get over it. Yea exactly. We live on the border. They are part of NORAD. They are absolutely incredible technological amazing pieces of American fighter patriot pride. Exactly. You really think you are going against the military or the national guard? Well, fucking good luck.
As much as I love them, in a sense. It gives me such awe. So incredible. At the same time, having them here and during COVID overhead and during the day and sometimes during the night, its mind blowing what it does to your body. The entire inside of your body is shaking. The boom is such that, it’s like an internal combustion of your body and your head. And it’s painful. And then my children, obviously, I can’t even imagine. But I know that they have a tough time doing their remote learning that’s for sure. I mean with windows closed and everything else. It doesn’t quite matter. Because because it . . . when it’s going over.
Every time I hear the F-35 flying overhead I'm forced to stop any conversation I may be having and remember that we are complicit in increasing the likelihood of war at the same time that the people in this country are going hungry. This makes me very sad.
My concern about the F-35 goes beyond just the noise. Every time I hear them, I'm reminded of how we have perverted our view of what is patriotism. It appears from the discussions that have happened in the past over the F-35 that supporting military equipment has now been equated with being patriotic. It is not, and people who stand up against these are considered unpatriotic. To me the F-35 is the poster child of everything that is wrong with the military- industrial-political complex. So, the F-35 here in Vermont is a symbol of how far astray we've gone in this country from peace and security for all to unquestioned support for military weapons systems in a false belief that this somehow is needed to keep our country safe and secure.
In one week, my wife and I are going to be leaving Vermont. The daily assault of the F-35s over are home is just more than we want to live with. Shame on the National Guard. They are supposed to be protecting us but they actually assault us every day. And shame on the National Guard also for their thousand-gallons-a-flight contribute to the climate crisis. It's absolutely abhorrent what's going on here. Thank you.
I can't imagine how bad it must be in Burlington, when I am bothered by them and I live 40 miles to the east. Over the past year I can hear them flying overhead for a half hour or more a few days a week. Very interesting that they tried to convince the local Burlington residents they would only hear them take off and land for a short time.
Thank you for this, James. We're happy that the film resonated with you and we're grateful for your ongoing coverage.