WWII Heritage Days set for next weekend

Tue, 04/14/2009 - 3:24pm
By: The Citizen

WWII Heritage Days set for next weekend

Experience the sights and sounds of the Greatest Generation when the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Dixie Wing hosts the sixth annual “WWII Heritage Days” Apr.18-19.  The public history event will be held at The Historical Airpower Facility, Falcon Field, Peachtree City from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on both days.

The weekend will feature living history displays and demonstrations, vintage aircraft and vehicles and a hangar dance that brings back the big band sound of Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey and the Andrews Sisters. Reenactors from throughout the southeast will create mock battles set in Europe and the Pacific, while guest speakers will cover topics ranging from the attack of Pearl Harbor to the role of a chaplain in the U.S. Army.

Actors from the Twilight Theatre Group will bring Betty Grable, Clark Gable and other ‘40’s-era personalities to the festival.

WWII Heritage Days will commence with an opening ceremony Saturday, Apr. 18 at 10 a.m.  Over 100 WWII veterans will be on hand, enabling the public to meet men and women who fought the axis powers around the world.  Welcoming remarks will be provided by Peachtree City Mayor Harold Young and Georgia Representative Matt Ramsey (R-Peachtree City), while Georgia Representative John Yates (R-Griffin) will provide a keynote speech. Yates is the only WWII veteran currently serving in the Georgia House of Representatives.

“WWII Heritage Days is a community celebration that will educate, entertain and inspire the entire family.” said Jim Buckley, CAF Dixie Wing leader.  The community focus has resulted in the program being designated a Peachtree City 50th Anniversary event.

  Why turn a flying museum into a living history classroom? 

“Our goal is to honor the Greatest Generation, the men and women who won the Second World War.” explained Buckley, who also flies several of the group’s aircraft. “We created WWII Heritage Days so that the community can connect with our nation’s heritage”

  The public can recreate history by purchasing a ride in one of the CAF Dixie Wing’s aircraft, including “Red Nose” a P-51 Mustang or “The Lady in Blue”, a rare SBD Dauntless dive-bomber restored with plans from the Smithsonian.

  A weekend highlight is “Keep ‘em Flying”, an annual 1940’s theme hangar dance that will begin with free swing dance lessons by Rachel Ferguson dance classes at 6 p.m.

Guests will hear the Peachtree Jazz Edition play big band tunes, while enjoying a BBQ dinner from Café Pig.  Described as “one of the best bands in Atlanta”, the ensemble has a loyal swing dance following and is returning to “Keep ‘em Flying” for the seventh straight year. 

Also performing will be the Vintage Vocals, a Cobb County trio that performs 1940's classics by the Andrews Sisters other ‘40’s stars while wearing military-style uniforms.   Dance demonstrations will be provided by the Atlanta Jazz Dance Preservation Society and student's from Ferguson's studio.

  Proceeds from aircraft rides and the dance are used to offset the cost of hosting the weekend and benefit historic aircraft preservation and “Education Through Living History”, the group’s WWII history program made available to schools and youth groups free of charge. 

  Sunday morning will begin with a jeep-top religious service familiar to millions of American servicemen during and since the Second World War.

. A broad range of organizations have partnered to create the largest WWII public history event in Georgia.  Participating organizations include Honor Flight Foundation of Fayette, the Atlanta History Center, the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment (reenacted), Kelly’s Zeroes,  FDR’s Little White House, the U.S. Army Signal Corps Museum and Atlanta World War II Round Table.

  The program expanded in 2009 to include an advisory panel that provides customized in-school presentations for teachers interested in bringing living history to the classroom.  Students from Newnan High School’s WWII history class will participate in WWII Heritage Days by sharing class projects and acting as escorts for veterans.

  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 for Adults, Children 13 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. Please no pets. Tickets for “Keep ‘em Flying” are $35 before Apr. 13, $50 at the door.  Reserved tables for eight are $300.  No refunds please.  For more information, visit www.wwiidays.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  

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