Anna’s Anachronisms: Samuel Langley versus Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II

As the sunset painted the sky in vibrant tones of purple and orange, my shadow stretched out far behind me as I scurried across the large, open-border baseball field. Behind a thin cast of netting that stretched from one Coach’s box to the other, pivoting along with the on-deck circles, I spotted my target sitting in the bleachers, wearing a button-down shirt and some sensible pants. He waved heartily at me as I climbed the seats like stairs to sit down beside him.

“Hello, Mr. Langley, how are you?”

“Please, call me Samuel. I’m rather curious to know what you brought me to an empty baseball diamond for, admittedly.”

“It’ll be just a few minutes more before you see for yourself. Watch the sky to the west.” I chuckled as I pointed to my left, where a distant airstrip could be seen across the wide-open expanse. “They should be ready soon.”

“Who should be?” He piqued, raising an eyebrow.

I giggled coyly and shook my head. “You’ll see… look, here they come!”

From over the hill behind the airstrip, a fleet of jets was fast approaching.. But the noise precedented the sight by a longshot. With a roar that shook the earth, 7 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning IIs zoomed by overhead.

I watched Samuel’s jaw drop as his eyes tracked their sleek, coal-black bodies as they soared across the glowing sky; faster than anything either had them had ever seen before. They banked hard a few arial klicks away and passed overhead again, looping over one another and rolling like show planes. Samuel whooped in joy and excitement, pumping his fist and his eyes lit up like sparklers. “This is insane! What are they?” He called over this din of engines.

I leaned closer and spoke up as the jets zoomed by once more. “They’re fighter jets! One of the most advanced models in the world!”

“My god! What did you call me here, out of anyone?”

“Well, you invented the bolometer, which indirectly lead to technology like this being possible! I wanted to show you that your hard work didn’t go to waste, and what amazing things we can do because of such a small object!”

His eyes teared up, and a smile creased his face from ear to ear. “God bless America!”

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