I recently came across a Youtube video documenting the contributions of the Royal Danish Air Force to the test program supporting the development of the F-35 at Edwards Airforce Base. (note: the sound cuts out periodically on this video. It's also a little long at around ~12 minutes) It's an impressive story. Not just about the aeronautical and technological achievements of the F-35. But also, on a larger scale, of the contributions of the United States' many allies and partners around the world. Of the feelings of comradeship and allegiance between the men and women of our armed forces, and those of our allies. Who among us knew that, for the past decade or so, there was a squadron of Royal Danish Airforce personnel living and working in the California desert to help us bring the F-35 into operation. But beyond that, Denmark is a ****ing awesome country. It's frequently listed as being the "happiest in the world" - despite having some of the highest personal income tax rates. It's also listed as being the most corruption-free in the world. Despite being the oldest Constitutional Monarchy in the world. And having a Crown Princess who happened to be born in Australia, which is awesome for reasons I can't really explain. Denmark's awesomeness doesn't stop there. Lego (from the Danish leg godt, meaning "play well") comes from there. Metallica guitarist Lars Ulrich is Danish. So are movie stars Mads Mikkelson; Brigitte Neilsen; and Game of Thrones heartthrob Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. Denmark also gave us bacon. Which by itself is reason enough to rate it pretty high in contributions to human progress. (It didn't, by the way, invent the Danish Pastry. But that's another story.) But we still get Carlsberg and Tuborg beer and Danish Blue cheese from those awesome Danes. Walt Disney, after visiting Copenhagen's famous Tivoli Gardens, was inspired to create Disneyland and Disneyworld. Denmark's history is filled with incredible achievements. The Danish Government and people, despite being under Nazi control, managed to pull off an incredible operation that saved 99% of their Jewish population from the Holocaust. Denmark also has one of the highest numbers of Nobel Laureates, by population, in the world. Denmark is also the birthplace of Søren Kierkegaard, which is awesome (to me) for reasons that ought to be obvious. Life in Denmark is not perfect. For some reason it's famous Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen is periodically vandalized. It recently went through some controversy over the publication of cartoons critical of the prophet Mohammed. Getting back to the F-35: The Danish government is committed to spending more than $3 billion to purchase its fleet of 27 F-35A airplanes. That works out at more than $530 apiece for each of Denmark's 5.7 million inhabitants. But since this is going to be spread out over (at least) the next twenty years, it means that Dane's earning their country's minimum wage (about $15/hour) will have work less than two hours a year to ensure their country's national security against any credible threat. To any Danish forum members who come across this: Tak. Thanks for being our friends and allies. Thanks for being a founding NATO member. Thanks for being our business partners. Thanks for your contributions to world culture, economics, law, science, and engineering. (And beer and bacon and Lego. And Lars Ulrich) We here in the United States ought to take some time, every now and then, and reflect on what an awesome place the world is. Filled with great countries and people, like Denmark and the Danes. We think the USA is pretty awesome. But there is greatness, and achievement, and beauty, and awesomeness wherever in the world you look. People working at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue ought to keep that in mind.