Saturday, June 15, 2019

Franklin’s Stormy Kite Fly Helped Arm the Revolution

Most illustrations of the famous kite fly get it wrong--Ben out doors, the lightning actually striking the kite, his soon William either absent or depicted as a small boy.  This one gets most of it right as Ben and his 19 year old son seek shelter from the rain in a shed.  The only err in this one is Franklin is holding the wet string above the key, not by the dry ribbon below it.  William holds the Lyden Jar which is charged by electrical discharges from the clouds, not by a direct lightning strike of the kite.
Like a youthful George Washington chopping down the cherry tree, Benjamin Franklin flying the kite in the lightening storm is an image known to every school child.  Unlike the cherry tree myth, Franklin really did fly a kite into an approaching storm on or about June 15, 1752—no one knows the exact date for sure. 
It was the most spectacular of the Philadelphia sage’s experiments with electricity which earned him world-wide acclaim as a scientist.  The adventure would also ultimately have world-wide political implications. 
Born in Boston in 1707, Franklin’s amazing career is too rich and varied to recount here.  Suffice it to say after Franklin arrived in Philadelphia as a 17 year old run-away apprentice in 1723 he was a printer, journalist, editor, and  publisher; businessman; post master; local and  colony official; militia officer; inventor and scientist; philanthropist; founder of the first insurance company, fire brigade, and hospital in the colonies; founder of the University of Pennsylvania and the American Philosophic Society; colonial agent in Britain; Delegate to the Continental Congress and member of the committee which drafted the Declaration of Independence; diplomat and Minister to France; President of Pennsylvania, and member of the Constitutional Convention.  Whew! And that leaves out a lot.  
Benjamin Franklin in 1759, seven years after flying his kite.
By 1752 Franklin was semi-retired from his successful printing businesses and focusing his attention on his electrical experiments.  Franklin, experimenting with a Lyden Jar, a container for storing an electrical charge, had already proven the existence of positive and negative electrical charges and shown them to both be forms of the same “electrical fluid.”  He had also described conservation of a charge.  These were critical advances in scientific learning. 
In 1750 he published a paper describing a proposed kite experiment to show conclusively that lighting was a form of electrical discharge. Adapting his experiment to an iron rod instead of a kite Frenchman Thomas-Fran├žois Dalibard successfully proved Franklin’s hypothesis in May 1752. 
Of course Franklin would have no way of knowing that when he took his son and faithful assistant William out to an open area near the edge of the city that day to finally execute the experiment himself.  Under threatening skies he attached his kite to a silk string, tying an iron key at the other end.  A thin wire was wound around the key and run into a Leyden jar.  A silk ribbon was tied to the key for Franklin to hold. 
The Leyden jar was one of the most important experimental devices used in early investigation of electricity.  It could store and discharge electrical charges.
He launched the kite as the storm approached and once it was aloft, moved under the cover of a barn so that he would not get wet. As the leading edge of thunder storm cloud passed over Franklin’s kite, negative charges in the cloud passed onto his kite, down the wet silk string, to the key, and into the jar. Franklin, standing on dry ground inside the barn and holding the dry ribbon was insulated from the negative charges on the key.  When he moved his free hand near the iron key, a spark jumped from the key to his exposed knuckle because the negative charges in the key were so strongly attracted to the positive charges in his body.
He had successfully demonstrated that lightning was static electricity.  Franklin was lucky to have survived the experiment.  Others who tried to duplicate it later were electrocuted, including noted Russian scientist Georg Wilhelm Richmann.  Franklin would have died too, had lightning actually struck the kite.  He was aware of that danger.  Which is why he flew his kite early in the storm close to the clouds where it picked up electrical discharges without actually being struck by lightning.  
Franklin's lighting rod may have been his most important and successful invention.   Its rapid adoption in the Colonies was credited with preventing thousands of fire a year and huge monetary losses.  As a bonus since he had a pioneering fire insurance side business, he saved money on claims.

A supremely practical man, he quickly turned his discovery to use with the invention of the lighting rod which protected buildings from deadly lightning strikes that every year were responsible for many fires and deaths. 
He reported his findings informally in letters to English scientists.  His findings made him one of the most famous men in the world.  The prestigious Royal Society awarded him its Copley Medal in 1753 and elected him a Fellow of the Society, an honor granted to few Colonials, in 1756.  Franklin also did pioneering work on the wave theory of light, meteorology, cooling by evaporation, heat conductivity, and oceanography over his long life.  
The adoration of aristocratic French society for Franklin as a scientist, philosopher, and exemplar of republican virtue paved the way for the vital alliance without which the American Revolution could not have been won.

Franklin’s fame as a scientist and as the author of pithy sayings in his famous Poor Richard’s Almanac, opened many important doors for him when he became agent for Pennsylvania and other colonies in London from 1757 to 1775.  When he arrived in France as American Minister in 1776, he found himself the object of public adoration and private respect due in no small measure to his enormous scientific reputation.  With an in to the great Salons of Paris he carefully exploited his fame and cultivated relationships that would pay off for the struggling new nation first with significant loans, then with official recognition of Independence, and finally with French troops on the ground and a fleet off shore that bottled up unfortunate Lord Cornwallis and the main British Army at Yorktown.  
In America Franklin was just behind George Washington himself as an icon for founding the new nation. This painting by Benjamin West in 1816 showed the older Franklin that the painter knew in an apotheosis celebrating his famous kite experiment.
A good case can be made that it was those French doors opened by that dangerous experiment in 1752 and Franklin’s celebrity as a scientist to which George Washington owed his most famous battle field victory and ultimately the confirmation of American Independence.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Can Flag Day Unite a Bitterly Divided Nation?




Note:  We’ve been here before but slightly updated to account for current catastrophes.

In case you hadn’t noticed today is officially Flag Day, a demi-holiday easily overlookedIt is celebrated by displaying the American Flag.  Veterans’ groups often organize solemn flag disposal ceremonies. 

No other country on earth makes quite the fetish of its flag as does the United States.  The word idolatry comes to mind.  At its worst it elevates the symbol—the Flag—over the substance—the democratic values espoused in the Declaration of Independence and protected by the Constitution.  It is an absolute truism that those who wrap themselves most in the Flag—and these day that is not just a figurative term—are the most disingenuous and dangerous.  Witness any Donald Trump performance.
Donald Trumps performance at this year's  Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) was not the first time he literally hugged the flag proving the truism about patriotism being the last refuge of scoundrels.
On the other hand—especially those who served in the Armed Forces or who were raised in a veteran’s household—have been taught to respect the Flag and “the nation for which it stands.”  I still hang the Flag on my house on patriotic holidays and always place my hat over my heart when it passes by in a parade.  It’s just the way I was raised.

Part of the national devotion to the Flag comes from an odd combination of cultural coincidence and calculated political strategy.  Our National Anthem, not officially adopted until 1931 but widely used on patriotic occasions for more than a century prior, may be the only national song about a flag.  
This 19th Century greeting card depicted the battle between the Monitor and the Merrimack and was typical of the flag drape imagery promoted by the Grand Army of the Republic after the Civil War.
Not widely displayed except at military posts, on Navy ships, and on some Federal buildings prior to the Civil War, the Grand Army of the Republic heavily promoted its use after the war in a spirit of triumphalism of the Union over the vanquished South.  For that reason display of the national flag was highly unpopular in the South until World War I.

The Pledge of Allegiance was penned by Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister and socialist, for use during celebration the 400th anniversary of the supposed discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus.  Quickly adopted by schools as part of the daily ritual to begin classes, the Pledge does not swear allegiance to the government—an inclusive
Immigrant children were taught to salute the flag in public schools like this one in New York City where they would be punished for speaking their native languages.  Photo by Jacob Riis.
By the turn of the 20th Century the Flag was being used as a symbol of assimilation for the waves of emigrants swamping our shores—and as a test of their loyalty.  The most popular composers of the era—the March King John Philip Sousa and Broadway’s George M. Cohan made literal flag waving as popular as moon-June-spoon ballads
During World War I, the Woodrow Wilson administration used flag imagery as part of their very sophisticated domestic propaganda operation designed to rouse support of the war effort and raise Liberty Loans.  After the war, the Flag was used to rally support for suppression of the labor movement, radicalism, Socialism, and Communism said to represent sinister alien ideologies.
The Flag was the central image in the Wilson administration's sophisticated campaign in support of World War I used for recruiting, War Bond sales, home front moral boosts, and to warn of possible subversion.  After the War the same techniques were turned against the labor movement, Socialists, Communists, and other alleged subversives during the great Red Scare.
Wilson proclaimed the first official Flag Day in 1916.  In 1949, with the country in the grips of yet another Red Scare, Congress made it an official Federal Holiday, although withholding the paid days off for Federal employees standard for other holidays.
June 14 is Flag Day because on this date in 1777 the Continental Congress passed the Flag Act which officially described a new national banner:
Resolved: That the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.
The new official flag—not, by the way, likely first sewn by Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross—was based on the unofficial Grand Union flag used by General George Washington during the Siege of Boston.  That flag had the same thirteen alternating red and white stripes but had the British Union flag in its canton.  Of course, that was before Independence was declared in July of 1776.  It wouldn’t do to keep the reference to the British flag.  
One of the most enduring myths about the Flag is that the first one was made by Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross for George Washington.  There is no evidence that she did.  There is also great doubt that the thirteen stars in a circle arrangement often shown was ever used during the Revolution.
The Act was vague—it did not describe the arrangement of the stars in the field, how the stars should be shaped, or even how large the field should be.  Local flag makers working from the sketchy description produced many variations with five, six, and even twelve pointed stars; with stars of different sizes; and many arrangements.  Also the shade of blue used for the field depended largely on what blue cloth the maker might have at hand

The familiar
thirteen stars in a circle was not only not standard, some historians doubt if it was used at all during the Revolutionary War.  Others believe that it might have been the flag used at the British surrender at Yorktown.
A display of Flag used since the Revolutionary War both unofficial and official.
After Vermont and Kentucky were added to the Union two additional stars and two stripes were added.  It was this flag that was the Star Spangled Banner observed still flying over Ft. McHenry in Baltimore harbor after an all-night British naval bombardment in 1815.  It became apparent that with more new states, adding stripes would quickly become clumsy. In 1818, after five more states were added, Congress fixed the number of stripes at thirteen with an added star for each new state. 
But it still did not specifically designate an arrangement for the stars.  During the Civil War flags with all manner of arrangements were used.  It was not until the creation of the 48 star flag in 1912 that a specific arrangement was established.  The current 50 star flag has been in use since July 4, 1960 after the admission of Hawaii to the Union.  This year will mark the 59th anniversary of that flag, which has been in service longer than any previous national banner.  



Today the flag is waved by forces on both sides of the great social and political divide even as the nation for which it stands seems to teeter perilously on the verge of a second civil war.  Both sides claim to love their country but have seemingly irreconcilable notions about what America is, what it means, and what it should become.
I’ve got my flag out today and I stand for the belief that it represents for “Liberty and Justice for All.  What does your flag mean?

















Thursday, June 13, 2019

The Song Remains the Same—Leaks, Secrets, and Vindictive Presidents

Daniel Ellsberg speaks to the press outside his trial in Boston.  Co-defendant Anthony Russo and his wife Katherine, left, and Ellsberg's wife Patricia look on.
Some of today’s most talked about news itemsleaks, secrets, national security, a war on the media, and an embattled, deeply paranoid President—are the same ingredients in a variant recipe as for the events that unfolded 48 years ago in the during  the reign of  Richard M. Nixon. On June 13, 1971 The New York Times began publishing The Pentagon Papers, a top secret history of the military and political involvement of the highest echelons of the U. S. Government in the Vietnam War. 
The study had been commissioned by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and was completed in 1968.  The document was obtained by Daniel Ellsberg, a former military analyst for the RAND Corporation think tank who had been involved in the original study.  He hoped to expose how the leaders of the government in successive administrations had systematically lied to the American people about both their intentions in Vietnam and about the actual conduct of the war. 
Among the many disclosures that shocked the nation was that Lyndon Johnson had made the decision to widen U.S. involvement with the introduction of combat units on the ground well before a heralded “consultation” with his senior advisors.  Johnson was also shown to be committed to bombing North Vietnam even as he was running for election in 1964 on a promise of seeking “no wider war.”  The documents also revealed the long secret war in Cambodia. 
The Nixon Administration reacted with a combination of horror and fury.  Attorney General John Mitchell immediately sought a restraining order against the Times to prevent them from continuing publication citing the 1917 Espionage Act which made it a crime to be in possession of classified documents illegally obtained “…which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated.”  
This New York Times headline grabbed the immediate attention of the President and administration officials who launched an all-out offensive against Ellsberg, the Times and anyone and everyone remotely involved.
The Times was forced to suspend publication while the case was expedited through the Federal Courts.  A few days later another restraining order was issued against the Washington Post, which had also been provided the text by Ellsberg and had begun running its own series. 
As the case was being reviewed, Senator Mike Gravel, Democrat of Alaska entered 1400 pages of the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional Record, which could not be restrained by the courts and put the material in a public form which could be quoted without fear of prosecution. 
The next day, on June 30 a deeply divided court ruled 6–3 that the injunctions were unconstitutional prior restraint and the government failed to meet the heavy burden of proof required.  Each of the nine justices wrote decisions agreeing or dissenting opinions on various parts of the ruling. 
It was less than the clear-cut victory for freedom of the press than the Times and Post hoped for, but it did affirm a broad interpretation of the First Amendment and allowed them to resume publication of the papers. 
Meanwhile the Justice Department had warned/threatened publishing houses against issuing the papers as a book.  Fearful, not one major commercial publisher would touch it.   
UUA President Robert West and Alaska Senator Mike Gravel at a press conference announcing the Beacon Press edition of the Pentagon Papers.  Gravel, as a U.S. Senator, was legally untouchable but paid a heavy political price.  West and the UUA endured years of investigations, constant harassment, and threat of criminal charges and the revocation of the UAA's tax exempt status and the status of all member congregations. Even individual donors to the UU were fearful of being targeted when the Fed sought financial records. 

Gravel, a Unitarian Universalist, suggested that Beacon Press, publishing arm of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) take it up.  UUA President Robert West agreed setting off two and a half years of harassment, intimidation, and court action against the publisher and the UUA by the government.  Despite threats and even a personal phone call from Nixon, the company rushed to put out the full Mike Gravel Edition of the Pentagon Papers in October. 
After publication the Justice department subpoenaed all of the UUA bank records for four and a half months, including checks from individual members.  That action was stopped on appeal, then started again, and finally ended, but the government tied the UUA up in court for two and a half years and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees. 
Both West and Beacon Press Director Gobin Stair were publicly named as likely to be indicted on espionage or even treason charges and both were called to testify in the criminal trial of Ellsberg and his co-defendant Anthony Russo, an associate who had helped with the copying.
At various times government agents hinted that the UUA and each member congregation might lose non-profit tax exempt status and that UUA might even be placed on the notorious Attorney General’s List of Subversive Organizations. 
Ellsberg and Russo had been charged under the Espionage Act and with a raft of other charges including theft and conspiracy, carrying a total maximum sentence of 115 years.  The trial finally got underway in January of 1973 in the Boston courtroom of U.S. District Judge William Matthew Byrne, Jr. 
During the trial a number of “gross improprieties” by the government were revealed.  Not the least of which was the August 1971 break-in of the office of Dr. Lewis Fielding, a psychiatrist who had treated Ellsberg.  This operation was conducted by G. G. Gordon Liddy, H. Howard Hunt and three Cubans at the direction of Nixon aide John Ehrlichman—the first operation of the infamous Plumber’s Unit that would soon be swept up in Watergate.  
Top Nixon aide and henchman John Ehrlichman created the Plumbers Unit whose first caper under spook G.Gordon Libby was a break in at Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist office.  That was the rap that sent Ehrlichman up the river.
It was also revealed that Judge Byrne personally met twice with Ehrlichman, who offered him directorship of the FBI. Although Byrne said he refused to consider the offer while the Ellsberg case was pending, even agreeing to meet with Ehrlichman during the case raised red flags. 
The government was accused of illegally obtaining evidence and of monitoring the defense team.  When the government tried to claim that it lost wiretap records on Ellsberg the exasperated Judge Byrne declared a mistrial and said “The totality of the circumstances of this case which I have only briefly sketched offend a sense of justice. The bizarre events have incurably infected the prosecution of this case.”
Nixon’s paranoia, which ultimately resulted in his resignation in disgrace over the Watergate scandal, can be traced to this case.  Aides Ehrlichman, H. R. Halderman, Richard Kleindienst, and John Dean were forced to resign when the Fielding burglary was disclosed in the course of the trial.  Egil Krogh and Charles Colson were convicted and sent to prison for their roles in supervising the break in. 
So what about today?  Well unfortunately intimidation of the press has become routine—and successful often successful.  Aides to President Donald Trump have repeatedly been caught improperly trying to interfere with the Mueller probe and Congressional investigations in a range of cases including improper communications with Russian officials and possible tampering with the 2016 Presidential Election.  The Cheeto in Charge himself was been caught more or less red handed trying to influence FBI Chief James Comey before firing him.  He has also threatened the press and individual journalists in his morning toilet seat Tweets, and been shown to be a bald faced liar on more occasions than can be counted. 
The two more contemporary whistle blowers have already been imprisoned, the fate Ellsberg and his press collaborators avoided all those years ago.
Former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning addresses reporters outside the Albert Bryan U.S federal courthouse with attorney Moira Meltzer-Cohen May 16, 2019 in Alexandria, Virginia. 
Chelsea Manning, formally known as Bradly Manning, was an active duty soldier with a security clearance who passed thousands of pages of classified documents to Julian Assange of WikiLeaks.  She pled guilty to ten charges and was later convicted of 17 others.  Sentenced to 35 years at the maximum-security U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, President Barack Obama commuted her sentence to basically time served since her arrest. 
Widely viewed as a classic whistle blower, Manning’s reputation has suffered as Assange sat for year in the London Ecuadorian Embassy and was revealed to be either a willing or unwitting tool of the Russians in meddling in the 2016 election.  This year she was returned to prison for refusing to respect a subpoena to testify before a Virginia Federal Grand Jury investigating Assange and WikiLeaks.  She was held for two months until the expiration of the Grand Jury term.  Almost immediately after her release a new Grand Jury was impaneled in the same case.  Attorney General William Barr, who is ironically himself defying a subpoena, ordered her re-arrested.  She was returned to jail for the 18 month term of the grand jury. In addition a fine was imposed of $500 for each day she spends in jail over 30 days and $1,000 for each day she spends in jail over 60 days.  Even upon the expiration of this Grand Jury, another could be impaneled.

Reality Winner pled guilty in to leaking classified information about Russian interference in the 2016 election and was sentenced to 63 months in prison.
Reality Winner a young woman contractor with a name out of a Dickens novel was charged and unlike Ellsberg was convicted, and imprisoned for leaking documents to the press about Russian hacking of the election.  Despite a spate or articles at the time, she has already been virtually forgotten.
Meanwhile readers of this blog, which has undoubtedly triggered whatever algorithms are used by NSA supper sophisticated snooping programs to flag possible dangerous threats, and those who click on links here from Facebook have to look over their shoulders and assume that Big Brother really is watching.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Murder in Jackson—The Assassination of Medgar Evers

Medgar Evers was a tireless champion for Civil Rights as a Mississippi  NAACP leader.
Late in the evening of June 12, 1963 fertilizer salesman/Ku Klux Klansman Byron De La Beckwith lay in wait outside a modest Jackson, Mississippi home. When Medgar Evers returned from a round of NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) meetings and got out of his car carrying an armload of Jim Crow Must Go t-shirts, Beckwith shot him once in the back once with a 1917 Enfield .306 rifle.  The bullet tore through his body and ricocheted into his home. 

Evers’ wife and their three children rushed out to find Evers face down on the porch bleeding heavily.  He died within an hour at a local hospital.  His death, just hours after President John F. Kennedy had delivered a nationally televised speech on Civil Rights, became a flashpoint of the bloody struggle in the South.  

As a U.S. soldier Evers was engaged in the invasion of Normandy and was discharged in 1947 after nearly five years of service as a sergeant.
Evers was born in 1925 the son of a farmer and saw mill worker in Decatur, Mississippi.  Drafted into the Army in 1943, he served in France and emerged from the war with the rank of sergeant. 

Like so many of his generation he used the G.I. Bill to get an education.  As a business major at Alcorn College, a state supported school for Black students, Evers was an athlete and student leader.  Before graduation he married fellow student Myrlie Beasley.  He got his B.A. in 1952.  

The wedding of Medgar and Myrlie  Evers.

The Evers moved to Mound Bayou, Mississippi where Edgar got a job selling insurance.  He also became involved in a local campaign to boycott service stations that would not allow Blacks to use their restrooms.  Soon he was the   President of the Regional Council of Negro Leadership (RCNL). 

In 1953 he applied to the still segregated University of Mississippi Law School.  When inevitably rejected, he filed suit with the support of the NAACP.  The organization was so impressed with him that they appointed Evers the first NAACP Field Director for Mississippi. 

As his family grew to three children Evers spent the next decade as one of the highest profile Civil Rights figures in the state.  He launched an investigation into the lynching of Chicago teenager Emmet Hill, and was a vigorous supporter of Clyde Kennard, a young activist who tried to de-segregate Mississippi Southern College, was framed on bogus charges, and sentenced to seven years in prison.  After the trial Evers was charged with contempt of court and sentenced to six months in jail for calling the verdict “a mockery of judicial justice.” 

Police Arrest Medgar Evers and NAACP Executive Secretary Roy Wilkins for protesting outside a Woolworth’s  store In Jackson, Mississippi on June 1, 1963 just days before his murder.

But Evers truly drew the wrath of the White Citizen Council—of which De La Beckwith was a founding member—for his work getting James Meredith enrolled in the University of Mississippi in 1962.  Threats against Evers and his family escalated.  In May1963 a Molotov cocktail was thrown into the family’s attached carport.  Myrlie put out the fire with a garden hose.  Evers refused to give in to threats, although he spoke of being a marked man.  

Assassin Byron De La Beckwith was a Klansman and leader of the White Citizen Council who was cockily sure that he was safe from justice.
After the murder it did not take long to trace it De La Beckwith—he left the rifle behind with his thumbprint, was seen in the neighborhood by several witnesses, and boasted about the murder to his fellow Klansmen.  But despite overwhelming evidence, two all-white juries failed to convict him in 1964 and 1965 trials.  

Myrlie moved the family to the safety of Los Angeles where she became a businesswoman and twice a candidate for Congress.  After re-marrying as Myrlie Evers-Williams she served as a commissioner on the Los Angeles Board of Public Works, and NAACP Chairwoman from 1995-98.  
Medgar Evers' widow Myrlie became a Civil Rights leader and public servant in her own right.

All the while she fought to have the murder case against De La Beckwith reopened.  In 1994 at her urging prosecutor Bobby DeLaughter re-opened the case and with new evidence.  After thirty years the killer was finally convicted.  He died in prison in 2001. 

The story of Medgar Evers quickly entered the culture.  Phil Ochs, Bob Dylan, and Nina Simone all wrote and recorded songs about the murder.  Writers as varied as Eudora Welty and Rex Stout wrote fictional pieces based on the case.  PBS aired a made-for-TV movie about the case, For Us the Living: The Medgar Evers Story starring Howard Rollins, Jr. and Irene Cara as Medgar and Myrlie Evers 1983.  

Director Rob Reiner's 1993 film Ghosts of Mississippi had star power with Whoopi Goldberg, Alec Baldwin, and James Wood.  It was one of many Hollywood films about the Civil Rights movement to focus on a white hero.

A better known theatrical film Ghosts of Mississippi by Rob Reiner, recounted the story of the final prosecution with Alec Baldwin as DeLaughter, James Woods as De La Beckwith, and Whoopi Goldberg as Myrlie.  As in so many Hollywood takes on the Civil Rights movement, the hero was not the black victim, but a noble White man. 

Jackson, Mississippi, a now Black majority city, has several times memorialized Evers—with a 1992 statue, the re-naming of a stretch of U.S. Highway 49, and changing the name of the city's air field to Jackson-Evers International Airport in 2001.