I heard a jet go by very low and loud, which scared me into assuming that it must be about to crash — should I stay here and keep out of the way of the first responders, or should I run there and start interviewing witnesses for the newspaper? Then I realized I had heard the plane leaving the formation in a Missing Man flyby above a nearby Memorial Day celebration.
If this custom is not familiar to you, here’s a description:
“The `Missing Man’ is usually flown by four to six aircraft in a V formation with the left leg longer than the right (viewed from below) and the flight leader at the point of the arrowhead. As the formation approaches the gravesite or other ceremony area, the wingman following to the leader’s right (left from below) leaves the formation in a spectacular pull-up, suggesting the hero’s soul going up to God.”
Here’s an example:
Lest we forget.