Every city has its random fun-facts. My son was recently interviewed by a national Jewish children’s magazine and they asked him to tell them some of the interesting facts about Cincinnati. One of the obvious facts was that the official airport of Cincinnati (CVG) is actually in neighboring Kentucky!

The three letters, CVG, do not stand for anything to do with Cincinnati. Rather, they are short for the city of Covington, KY, where the airport is situated. I can’t write how many times I received calls and messages from people that were coming to visit and then wonder if they flew to the wrong airport, as they see signs welcoming them to Kentucky and not Ohio.

Although I have been living here for almost two decades, until this interview, I never thought about the actual reason why our airport is not in Cincinnati. When I finally looked into it, it turns out that it was because of the shortsightedness of some of the elected officials of Cincinnati and the motivation of some Kentucky officials not to miss an opportunity.

Here is the basic history: Lunken Airport on the city’s east end was the Tri-State’s center for commercial air traffic at the time World War II was beginning in Europe. Lunken Airport was prone to flooding. In 1937, it was 20 to 30 feet underwater. The nearby hillsides, which were often locked in fog, also prevented the airport from expanding the runways beyond 4,200 feet.

When the war started, the Army Air Corps looked across the country for airfields where they could train pilots — or places where they could build training fields. Lunken’s runways were too short for bombers, and the city never offered it to the Air Corps. Besides that, Hamilton County leaders were fighting among themselves.

A Northern Kentucky congressman named Brent Spence (later memorialized with a bridge) and other NKY leaders saw an opportunity to get into the air travel business. Boone County, widely undeveloped in those days, had plenty of flat farmland but no money. Kenton County agreed to buy nearly 900 acres 12.5 miles from Fountain Square as long as it could own and run the airport.

Spence and Sen. Alben Barkley lobbied for federal funds, and two months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, FDR approved money for site development. By the time the Army Air Corps started using the facility and the first B-17 landed on Aug. 15, 1944, the war was winding down. A year later, the Air Corps declared it surplus property and turned it over to the local governments. On Oct. 27, 1946, it opened a small wooden administration building, and less than three months later, with a three-story terminal nearly finished, American Airlines, Delta and TWA abandoned Lunken and moved to Greater Cincinnati Airport. The rest, as the saying goes, is history.

While history is always nice to learn and know, the lessons learned and applied are much more relevant and important. To me, the greatest lesson to be learned is the importance of grabbing the opportunity when presented and not allowing ourselves to be distracted by trivial things that have no long-term significance.

On a very practical note: We are now in the beginning of the summer season. Our children are off from school, and the pressures that come with it, and the weather is generally good. It is an opportunity to bond with our families and to create real memories that will remain with our children for years to come. These experiences will serve as the anchors of stability in the stormy waters of the journey of life.

In addition, and probably most important: Now is the time to focus on the Jewish identity and education of your children. While during the year there is a big emphasis on secular education and other academic goals, the summer is the unique time to instill and build their Jewish identity. Thankfully there are Jewish day camps and overnight camps, which allow our children to develop their Jewish identity in a fun and exciting way, as opposed to many people who got turned off from Judaism, whose sole interaction is mandatory Hebrew school which is on their limited free time after school or Sundays.

The summers in general and summer camps in particular are very different. It is an opportunity to present Jewish life, culture and traditions in a lively and vibrant way. This is an opportunity to link our children to the golden chain of our people that started with Abraham, Issac and Jacob. Let’s take the opportunity and not let it slip us by!

Have a wonderful summer!