April 27, 28

WWII nostalgia focus of 10th annual Heritage Days

by Staff Reports


Pam Ellis / CAF Dixie Wing

Local WWII veterans will be honored at the opening ceremony Saturday kicking off the 10th annual WWII Heritage Days history festival Saturday and Sunday at the CAF Dixie Wing Historical Airpower Facility, Atlanta Regional Airport, Peachtree City.

Visitors will be able to experience the sights and sounds of the Greatest Generation as the Commemorative Air Force Dixie Wing holds its 10th annual “WWII Heritage Days” Saturday and Sunday.

The history festival will be held at Dixie Wing’s Historical Airpower Facility at the Atlanta Regional Airport-Falcon Field in Peachtree City from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. both days.

Vintage aircraft, period vehicles, guest speakers, education displays, demonstrations by re-enactors portraying Allied and Axis troops and activities for school age youngsters will again be featured.

Local actors and singers from Twilight Theatre will impersonate 1940s celebrities and perform musical hits from the era throughout the weekend. Highlights include an opening ceremony Saturday morning recognizing local WWII veterans and a 1940s-theme hangar dance Saturday evening.

Ewoud Swaak, Honorary Consul to the Netherlands for Georgia and South Carolina, is keynote speaker. The program commemorates Operation Market Garden, a battle in September 1944 when 40,000 Allied paratroopers attempted to liberate a series of cities, towns and bridges in Holland in an effort to shorten the war. 

Opening ceremony is expected to be one of the largest gatherings of WWII veterans in Georgia this year, organizers said. Activities begin at 9:30 a.m. with a patriotic program by Peachtree City’s “Official Ambassadors of Song,” Music Alive!

This marks the first year WWII Heritage Days joins Spirit of ‘45, a nationwide grassroots movement that celebrates a national day of remembrance in honor of The Greatest Generation. In 2010, Congress passed a resolution designating the second Sunday in August as “Spirit of ‘45 Day” to commemorate the anniversary of the end of WWII on Aug. 15, 1945.

Bruce Gamble, author of “Swashbucklers and Black Sheep: A Pictorial History of Marine Fighting Squadron 214 in World War II,” will describe the exploits and accomplishments of the famous squadron.

Award-winning aviation artist Marc Stewart will be displaying several of his WWII-theme prints.

Saturday evening brings back the Big Band sound synonymous with the 1940s at “Keep ‘em Flying,” a hangar dance fundraiser featuring a 21-piece swing band. Proceeds from the dance offset the cost of WWII Heritage Days, aircraft preservation and “Education Through Living History,”  the group’s WWII history program made available to schools and youth groups free of charge in the Fayette/ Coweta area. 

“WWII Heritage Days is a community celebration that will educate and entertain the entire family,” said Jim Buckley, CAF Dixie Wing leader. The event draws enthusiasts to Peachtree City from throughout the southeast.

Sunday morning will begin with a Jeep-top religious service familiar to millions of American servicemen during and since the second world war.

Organizations scheduled to participate include the Atlanta History Center, U.S. Army Signal Corps Museum, Marietta Museum of History, Kennesaw State University’s Museum of History & Holocaust Education, 1st Infantry Division (reenacted), Five-oh-First, 134th IR134 “Hoch und Deutschmeister” and Kelly’s Zeroes.

Local civic organizations and schools are also invited to create and display 1940s exhibits.

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.

WWII Heritage Days is an annual program that promotes education and patriotism. The CAF Dixie Wing is a non-profit education organization that restores WWII aircraft and teaches WWII history.

Suggested donation for “WWII Heritage Days” is $5. Children 5 and under are admitted free. “WWII Heritage Days” will be held rain or shine. Please, no pets.

Tickets for “Keep ‘em Flying” are $60 at the door. Reserved tables and group discounts available. All ticket sales final. For more information,b 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 more than 9,500 members and operates a fleet of more than 150 World War II aircraft. Visit www.commemorativeairforce.org to learn more.

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