The US Shot Down The Chinese Spy Balloon And The Memes Are Gold

“Hey, did anyone lose a big white balloon?” tweeted the city of Myrtle Beach's tourism account after the US military shot down the Chinese spy balloon over the Atlantic Ocean.

The white balloon in the sky.

A US military fighter aircraft shot down the Chinese spy balloon that had been floating across the country's airspace Saturday as it moved beyond the shores of South Carolina and over the Atlantic Ocean.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin confirmed the military downed the balloon at the direction of President Joe Biden, saying in a statement that the government believes the device was being used by the People's Republic of China "in an attempt to surveil strategic sites in the continental United States."

Austin said military officials determined that shooting it down over land "posed an undue risk" to Americans and instead made plans to bring it down safely over territorial waters.

The balloon, which US officials described as a "high-altitude surveillance balloon," entered the continental airspace on Tuesday near Idaho before drifting over Montana. Chinese officials claimed that the balloon was a civilian airship with "mainly meteorological purposes" and said it ended up over the US by accident. But Secretary of State Antony Blinken said officials were "confident" that wasn't the case.

In a Friday call with a top Chinese foreign affairs official, Blinken said he "made clear that the presence of this surveillance balloon in US airspace is a clear violation of US sovereignty and international law."

It's still unclear what the spy balloon may have learned while traveling across the country. (Officials are continuing to investigate the vessel and retrieve its debris.) But after days of breathless coverage of its intrusion into American airspace — and discourse — people on Twitter couldn't help but crack some jokes about its demise.

That balloon was my best friend and you killed it!

Twitter: @HooperHairPuff

guys I get it, they shot the balloon down but you CANNOT do this to me until there's news of another movie

Twitter: @megschuster

The military just shot down my gender reveal balloon, wtf?

Twitter: @KevinSussman

BREAKING: authorities now confirm that what we thought was a spy balloon was actually Grizabella on her way to the Heaviside Layer

Twitter: @TomZohar

Hey, did anyone lose a big white balloon? #ChineseSpyBalloon #myrtlebeach

Twitter: @MyMyrtleBeach

The presence of the big white vessel, which was described by officials to be about three buses wide, caused many to wonder why the Chinese government needed to send one at all. Aren't they already surveilling us on that app where grown adults film themselves lip-syncing to Mickey Mouse theme songs?

They don't need a spy balloon. They have TikTok. . .

Twitter: @GenesisElijah

There must be a higher-tech and more subtle way to do this, right?

It does sound a little strange that the Chinese are using a balloon to spy on us. It’s 2023 not 1923.

Twitter: @HalforNY__

I mean, what was inside that thing??

oh my god it was the balloon carrying the wizard of oz

Twitter: @profmusgrave

The US has shot down the Chinese spy balloon but, as always, it was filled with licorice, Gummi bears and other stuff nobody wants, and not enough KitKats

Twitter: @PaulRudnickNY

Before the balloon was destroyed, some offered suggestions on how we could repurpose it.


Twitter: @AlexThomas

And despite its short-lived run, people felt compelled to memorialize the spy balloon's life with fan edits and tributes.

Personally, right now, I think the Chinese spy balloon is very down to earth.

Twitter: @Svengoolie

BREAKING: The US government has neutralized the threats posed by the Chinese spy balloon. Below the official timeline and corresponding map.

Twitter: @wallstreetbets

Liza Minnelli has outlived the Chinese spy balloon. The United States shot it down over the Atlantic Ocean.

Twitter: @LiZaOutlives

RIP Chinese Balloon 💔😭 You’ll be missed

Twitter: @671JH

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