By Mariah Walters Orose
The Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) has joined forces with other veteran service organizations to support the Arsenal of Democracy 75th World War II Victory Commemoration Flyover in Washington, D.C., on May 8, 2020.
Observers will see nearly 100 vintage warplanes fly along the Potomac River and across the National Mall in 24 formations, representing major battles of the war and marking Victory in Europe (V-E) Day. Viewers can expect to see the P-40 Warhawk, P-39 Airacobra, P-38 Lightning, P-51 Mustang, P-47 Thunderbolt, F4U Corsair, B-25 Mitchell, and B-17 Flying Fortress among the planes.
The spectacle will be part of a broader two-day event to include a ceremony for veterans at the World War II Memorial. The Eisenhower Memorial dedication will be held the same day, making it a special time to be in Washington, D.C.
“This is such an important milestone in world history,” said MOAA President and CEO Lt. Gen. Dana T. Atkins, USAF (Ret). “MOAA is proud to support the commemoration. Over the next year, we will be calling on our members, chapters, and headquarters personnel to honor our Greatest Generation through this special event. We commit to the Arsenal of Democracy's goals and those in the 75th Anniversary of World War II Commemoration Act.”
In addition to the flyover in the nation's capital in May, the USS Missouri Memorial Association will host a five-day event in Hawaii in September 2020 to commemorate Victory over Japan (V-J) Day.
Aircraft soar over Washington, D.C., during the V-E Day anniversary flyover on May 8, 2015. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images)
This is the second Washington, D.C., flyover Arsenal of Democracy has planned. On May 8, 2015, the group organized a similar event for the 70th anniversary of V-E Day. The 2020 event will nearly double the number of aircraft. Event organizers hope the larger event will help to draw a larger crowd. That larger crowd, they feel, is an important step in achieving a larger goal to share the past, educate the future, and honor those who served.
“When you look at the 75th anniversary of the culmination of the greatest epic struggle this planet has ever known and you think about the age of the men and women who were involved in that conflict both fighting the war and on the home front, this is probably the last time we can get them together in a national tribute to say thanks,” said Pete Bunce, an Arsenal of Democracy Executive Planning Committee member and the president and CEO of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, at a news conference Jan. 7 in Washington, D.C.
In 2018, the Department of Veterans Affairs estimated there are just under a half million living American veterans of World War II.
For more information about the flyover, see the Arsenal of Democracy 75th World War II Victory Commemoration Flyover website: https://ww2flyover.org.