At museums and parades across the country, aviators and their contributions to the U.S. military were remembered over the Veterans Day weekend. The Air Museum In Palm Springs, Calif., introduced its newly renovated Vietnam-era Republic F-105D Thunderchief bomber. In Mesa, Ariz., four U.S. Navy veterans from World War II, all in their 90s, went flying aboard a restored B-17G at the Arizona Aviation Museum. In San Antonio, Texas, the nonprofit Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation gave free flights to veterans in a 1942 Boeing Stearman. And one veteran, a retired Air Force colonel, asked for aviators from the Cold War to be remembered, too.
“In one aircraft alone, the B-47 in which I served, nearly 1,000 perished in fatal training accidents as part of the force that made the Soviets think twice before launching a nuclear attack on the U.S.,” Louis J. Malucci, of Fairport, N.Y., wrote in an online op-ed. “But who remembers?” In Washington, D.C., the American Veterans Center featured two aviators among its 2013 honorees, who were feted in a gala awards event over the weekend. Lt. Gen. Frank E. Petersen, Jr., the first African American aviator in the Marine Corps, and USAF Col. George “Bud” Day (posthumous), who flew in the Korean War and Vietnam, both were recognized for their contributions.