‘Celebrating Our Legacy’ to honor Word War II veterans
May 27, 2011
Seventy years ago, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, The United States officially entered World War II.
This Memorial Day, as the country remembers and honors our veterans, the Commemorative Air Force Utah Wing will hold it’s own celebration at its hangar at the Heber City Airport.
"Celebrating Our Legacy" will feature music, dancing, barbecue, airplane rides and a 6 p.m. screening of the 1942 John Wayne film "Flying Tigers." The free event will take place May 28, beginning at noon.
The overall highlight, said event organizer Dave Barber, will be a 2 p.m. ceremony recognizing the World War II Veterans.
"We need to honor these people while they’re here," Barber told The Park Record. "This is the last hurrah for them. There are thousands of men and women who are WWII vets who are dying, and it won’t take long before they’re gone. That’s why we’re doing this right now."
Barber, a Vietnam veteran, became associated with WWII veterans in 1994 when he joined the Commemorative Air Force, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of WWII aircraft and honoring veterans.
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"I’ve always appreciated what the older generation has done for us, even before Tom Brokaw came through with his ‘Greatest Generation’ book," Barber said. "Seven years ago on the 60th anniversary of V-day, I was asked to do a program at the Library in West Jordan. So I got a lot of the veterans together for that. It was cool meeting them and hearing their stories."
So, when the Commemorative Air Force Utah Wing membership voted to hold a similar celebration this year in Heber, the membership appointed Barber to line things up.
"Even though we are Air Force and therefore aviation, this celebration is for all World War II veterans," he said. "We want to recognize all the contributions from World War II."
In addition to the ceremony, plane rides and dancing, "Celebrating Our Legacy" will feature a military-vehicles display, reenactments and the Wasatch High School Band and Choir.
"They’ve got elements of their organizations performing between noon and 2 p.m. and at the presentation," Barber said about the musicians. "We also have some singers coming in with a DJ that will be playing WWII songs and I’ve got the 23rd Army Band, who will play jazz throughout the day."
Also, the Commemorative Air Force Utah Wing Museum will host an open house during the festivities.
"Since 2011 is the 70-year anniversary of when the United States entered the war, we’re going to try to tie a lot of things in with functions that will be held at the museum, not only on the 28th, but throughout the year," Barber said. "This event is just the beginning."
With the event just a few days away, Barber has been working hard to locate WWII veterans.
"I’m trying to contact as many veterans that are willing to come celebrate with us," he said. "I’m also looking for swing dancers. If anyone knows of a veteran or of swing dancers, I wish they’d give me a call at 801-631-6381."
The Commemorative Air Force Utah Wing will present "Celebrating Our Legacy" at the Heber City Airport on Saturday, May 28, beginning at noon. Admission is free.