REMEMBERING PEARL HARBOR
WWII Flying Museum to mark historic event
The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Dixie Wing, Honor Flight Fayette and local veterans organizations will join forces on Sunday, December 4, 2011 to host Peachtree City’s fourth annual observance of National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. The event will be held at the Historical Airpower Facility, Falcon Field 11:00am-1:00pm.
The 2011 Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day program will include living history activities featuring vintage military aircraft and vehicles and education displays. World War II veterans, many who have visited the National World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. courtesy of Honor Flight Fayette, will be in attendance. A memorial program will begin at noon and conclude with a wreath dedication and flyover by a vintage WWII aircraft. Several Pearl Harbor survivors are also expected to be hand.
On December 7, 1941 Japan launched a devastating air raid against the U.S. Pacific Fleet anchored at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. In less than two hours, the United States suffered 3,435 casualties, while also losing 188 aircraft, 8 battleships, 3 light cruisers and 4 other vessels.
The United States declared war on Japan the next day.
In 1994 President Bill Clinton signed into law Public Law 103-308, designating December 7th of each year as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. The day is meant to instill a greater understanding and appreciation of the sacrifice of those who served in the armed services during World War II. Flags should be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset.
“The mission of the Commemorative Air Force is to honor America and her veterans through flight, exhibition and remembrance” said Jim Buckley, CAF Dixie Wing leader. “It’s a privilege for us to host Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day."
Founded in 1987, the CAF Dixie Wing is the Georgia chapter of the 50 year-old Commemorative Air Force, a 501c3 dedicated to restoring and flying WWII aircraft as a tribute to America’s veterans.
The group has hosted several public events this year, including "Keep 'em Flying", an annual 1940's-theme hangar dance, and Peachtree City's Veterans Day observance.
The CAF Dixie Wing will display its growing collection of World War II and Korean War-era airplanes, including the “Lady in Blue”, the group’s rare Douglas SBD Dauntless dive-bomber. Also on display will be aircraft modified to represent an Imperial Japanese Navy Kate torpedo bomber and Zero fighter. All three aircraft have been featured in motion pictures and television, including “Tora, Tora, Tora”, “Midway” and “Black Sheep Squadron”.
SBDs, nicknamed “Slow But Deadly”, were among the first to strike back at Japan, shooting down an attacker on December 7, 1941 and sinking a Japanese submarine the following day.
Members donate their time to maintain each aircraft. Repairs can cost up to $150,000 if an engine must be replaced. Air show appearances, fund-raisers and donations support ongoing operations of the wing.
"We believe we are stewards of American history," continued Buckley "flying these aircraft preserves an important part of our nation’s heritage.”
Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day is free, but the public is asked to bring a toy or donation for the Marine Corps League Toys For Tots. The event will be held rain or shine. Please no pets. For more information, please visit www.dixiewing.org or call 678-364-1110.
The Commemorative Air Force is a non-profit organization dedicated to flying and restoring World War II aircraft. Based in Midland, Texas, the organization has over 9,500 members and operates a fleet of over 150 World War II aircraft. www.commemorativeairforce.org
USS West Virginia – In a photo taken at Pearl Harbor Dec 7th, 1941, sailors in a motor launch rescue a survivor from the water alongside the sunken battleship USS West Virginia. (Photo National Archives)
SBD - "Slow But Deadly", a rare SBD Dauntless dive-bomber. (Photo CAF Dixie Wing)
US Sailors – In a photo from 1942, US Navy sailors honor fellow sailors killed during the Pearl Harbor attack, Naval Air Station Kaneohe, Oahu, Hawaii, United States. (Photo National Archives)
SNJ Pilot Joe - Wings of Gold. A member of the CAF Dixie Wing recreates a scene aboard a Navy aircraft carrier during World War II. (Photo Charles Burcher / CAF Dixie Wing)
FDR - On Dec 8, 1941 President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Declaration of War against Japan. (Photo National Archives)
2010 Pearl Harbor Day WWII Veterans (Photo Charles Burcher / CAF Dixie Wing)
2011 Pearl Harbor Day WWII Veterans (Photos Pam Wood Ellis / CAF Dixie Wing)