OCEAN CITY – “I thought it was wonderful.”
Those five words, expressed by Army veteran John J. Sauer Sr., essentially sum up the majority opinion of last weekend’s 2nd Annual Ocean City Air Show.
Approximately 260,000 people were in town last weekend, according to demoflush estimates, a significant 30,000-plus-head increase over last year’s crowds during the same weekend.
“It was the largest sustained crowd I have ever seen on the Boardwalk. By sustained, I mean three or four hours at a time,” Meehan said. “It was comparable to the Fourth of July, but on the Fourth everybody is moving, on their way to some place to watch the fireworks or what have you … [Last weekend] the sea wall, the Boardwalk, the decks, the beach, everywhere was just very crowded. It was a great crowd and everyone seemed to get caught up in everything that was going on.”
Meehan said even on Saturday when weather suspended the air show early there was an excitement in the area that he does not recall ever feeling.
“Everybody understood. There was no complaining about it. Those things happen … but then to have it on Sunday and close the show with the Thunderbirds and God Bless America playing over the loud speakers, let me tell you, if that doesn’t get to you on Flag Day, I don’t know what will. It was a phenomenal moment.”
There were numerous touching moments, according to Meehan, not everyone in the crowd was able to witness. One in particular he discussed at this week’s Mayor and Council meeting involved Sauer, a retired U.S. Army veteran who lives in the area. Meehan said he was approached by a man who mentioned his young son would like to get an autograph from a man who fought on D-Day, the 65th anniversary of which was celebrated this month.
“He was referring to John Sauer. I went over and got John Sauer and told him ‘this young man would like your autograph’ because he knows and recognizes you were there and fought that battle. John had tears in his eyes and it was something out of the 1950s,” Meehan said. “This was something I thought was reminiscent of a kindler and gentler time. It made the day and set the tone for everything that happened that day. It was great.”
Sauer said he was overwhelmed by the expression of gratitude, particularly by such a young person.
“That was wonderful. To know the kids of today’s world would take the pains to do something like that was wonderful,” Sauer, 85, said on Wednesday. “There were boys, girls and even one teenager who came up to me … it was really nice.”
For the complete story and photos from last weekend’s air show, see The Dispatch and its online partner tomorrow morning.