WWII Heritage Days returns

Wed, 04/23/2008 - 9:59am
By: The Citizen

Weekend filled with events for all ages

WWII Heritage Days returns

Experience the sights and sounds of World War II when the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Dixie Wing hosts the fifth annual WWII Heritage Days this coming weekend. The event will be held 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at The Historical Airpower Facility, Falcon Field, on April 26 and 27 and will bring together vintage vehicles and aircraft, WWII veterans, guest speakers and reenactors from throughout the southeast to pay tribute to The Greatest Generation, the men and women who won the second World War.

WWII Heritage Days will commence with an opening ceremony on Saturday, April 26 at 10 a.m. The ceremony will recognize over 60 local WWII veterans, enabling the public to meet men and women who fought the axis powers around the world. In attendance will be original Tuskegee Airmen, Carl Beck, Punchy Powell and Theodore “Dutch” Van Kirk. Van Kirk was the navigator on the Enola Gay, the aircraft that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, ending the Second World War. Beck, a D-Day veteran, and Powell, a P-51 Mustang pilot, were both featured on GPTV WPBA 30 in 2007. Welcoming comments will be provided by Georgia Representative Matt Ramsey (R-Peachtree City) and Peachtree City councilwoman Cyndi Plunkett.

Reenactors portraying American, British and German troops will recreate the battle and liberation of a French village during D-Day, the Allied invasion of Normandy. The replica village includes several buildings and tank obstacles constructed by CAF Dixie Wing volunteers. Living history demonstrations, including canteen shows, will be conducted throughout the weekend. Sunday morning will begin with a jeep-top worship service familiar to American servicemen during the Second World War.

Saturday evening includes “Keep ‘em Flying,” a WWII-theme hangar dance that begins at 6 p.m. with free dance lessons by Rachel Ferguson Dance Connection. The Peachtree Jazz Edition will perform big band tunes made famous by Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman while guests enjoy a barbecue dinner from Café Pig. Described as “one of the best bands in Atlanta,” the Peachtree Jazz Edition is returning to “Keep ‘em Flying” for the sixth straight year. Also performing will be the Vintage Vocals, a Cobb County trio that wears period uniforms while singing 1940s classics. Ferguson and the Atlanta Swing Era Dance Association (ASEDA) will provide dance demonstrations. Tickets can be purchased by calling the CAF Dixie Wing.

Proceeds from the dance are used to cover costs associated with hosting WWII Heritage Days, the ongoing preservation of vintage aircraft and Education Through Living History, a World War II history program made available by CAF Dixie Wing volunteers to schools and youth groups free of charge.

A broad range of organizations have partnered to create the largest WWII public history event in Georgia. Participating organizations include the Atlanta History Center, National Association of Rosie the Riveters, Honor Flight Fayette, Eighth Air Force Historical Society, Marine Corps League, National Rosie the Riveter Association, the Civil Air Patrol, and FDR’s Little White House. Coweta County School System Central Education Center video production students will use the weekend to create class projects and Fayette County’s Sandy Creek High School Air Force Junior ROTC will provide a color guard for the opening ceremony.

“World War II was the defining event of the twentieth century and every family in America was affected by the conflict,” said Chris Madrid, CAF Dixie Wing Public Information Officer. “It is our goal to help the public connect with their heritage.”

WWII Heritage Days is an annual program that promotes historic preservation, education and citizenship. The CAF Dixie Wing is a non-profit education organization that relies on donations and fundraisers to restore WWII aircraft and teach WWII history.

Suggested donation for WWII Heritage Days is $5 per adult. Children 12 and under admitted free. The public is also asked to bring a canned food item to be donated to the Fayette Samaritans food pantry. WWII Heritage Days will be held rain or shine. Guests are asked to leave all pets at home. Tickets for “Keep ‘em Flying” are $50. Reserved tables for eight are $350. 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.

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