Few outside this beautiful harbor realize the Bay Area has a long naval tradition that rivals all but a few competitors. It's a legacy worth preserving.
In October 1981, the Blue Angels Naval Flight Demonstration Team soared over a region dotted with active military facilities. It was the first official Fleet Week since 1935. Recalling the glory years of World War II, many locals pinned high hopes on President Ronald Reagan's aggressive secretary of the Navy, John Lehman.
Those days of promise are long gone. This month, at the 26th annual San Francisco Fleet Week, the Blue Angels will streak over a thoroughly demilitarized Bay Area. With the Cold War won, the Navy abandoned the entire region-to the point that the Angels now fly from San Francisco International, a civilian airport.
Fleet Week celebrates the Navy's longstanding, mutually beneficial relationship with the Bay Area. But today, a decade after the region's final active Navy installation closed, that grand cooperative legacy is under serious stress.