Sixty five years ago yesterday, World War II in Europe came to an inglorious end with the unconditional surrender of Germany. The war in the Pacific burned even hotter over the next three months as Japan mounted a suicidal effort to stop what had been pre-ordained in a series of battles on land and sea in second half of 1942 and early spring of 43.
The men and women who served in those theaters are passing from our midst like so many leaves blown away on a wind driven day. Even the youngest of those still among us, are in their fourscore years and counting journey of life. Soon we will only have their memories to remind us of their service and noble bravery. The tools of their trade during those long years of war endure to remind us of their sacrifice and call to duty. In several places around this great nation, museums and displays recollect those times.
When visiting those museums or ships one can use their imagination to conger up a little of what is was like to be a soldier, sailor or airman as they fought to rid the world of the scourge of Fascism. Recent movies like Saving Private Ryan which led to Band of Brothers and currently the HBO special "The Pacific" have ignited an appreciation for the sacrifices of those who soon will be only a memory to a grateful nation.
Thanks to an enterprising group of individuals, it is now possible to not only see some of those tools on display, but watch and hear them as they do what they were asked to do thousands of times over the course of three years and eight months of war.
This coming weekend, May 15 and 16 2010 will be the Chino Air Show in Chino, California. The show is sponsered by the Planes of Fame Air Museum and this years theme is, "A Salute to the Greatest Generation." Over 40 historic aircraft from World War II and the Korean War will take to the skys to treat the visitors to the sights and sounds of avaition in the days when the piston engine was king.
For those living within driving distance, this is one of the best ways to experience what for many is one of the sweetest sounds, that as one blog friend* describes this way.
"You have not lived until you experience first hand the song of a Rolls-Royce or Wright at full throttle, low altitude and close aboard.
Props — nothing like ‘em"To make it easy to make your plans I have linked the information about the when, where and how, below.
Air Show FAQ's
Schedule of events
In addition to the air show and static displays of aircraft, the California Historical Group a World War II living history organization will have a large display of what life was like for the earthbound soldier.
So make your plans now to try and spend a few hours honoring those who made it possible for us to look back from the comfort of the 21st century and remember a time filled with both peril and honor.
UPDATE: Here are some photos from the 2008 airshow courtesy of The Flying Kiwi.