Saturday, May 09, 2015

#VEDay70th Double Feature: DC Mall Flyover Footage & "Col. Culpepper'sFlying Circus"

Yesterday was the 70th anniversary of VE Day, or Victory in Europe Day, when Nazi Germany formally surrendered unconditionally to the Allied Forces and ended World War II in Europe.  World War II would not end until September 1945, after the Japanese surrendered as a result of two atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which ended plans to invade Japan, an invasion that was estimated would have been more catastrophic in the loss of life on both sides.

For those who were on the Washington Mall yesterday at noon, a flyover of US aircraft from the World War II era flew over the restricted airspace of the US Capitol and World War II monument. I wasn't able to attend, but have footage below via YouTube.

Here's much longer footage, including ceremonies at the World War II Memorial.

Also, in honor of VE Day, I'm including this video docuemtary done by the BBC in 1981 entitled "Col. Culpepper's Flying Circus." It is about an organization then called the Confederate Air Force (now Commemorative Air Force). It was shot in the CAF's headquarters in October 1980, during their annual Airsho.

Appearing in the video are World War II aviators Paul Tibbets (who flew the Enola Gay that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima), Tennessee Ernie Ford, and German WWII ace Adolph Galland. What is most significant that you will see during the video is the concern the "Colonels" of the CAF had in 1980 about the state of the world and the lack-of-preparedness of the United States military at that time, during the height of the Cold War, as well as the Iran Hostage Crisis and the fecklessness of the Carter Regime in defending the US, similar to what happened in the years leading up to World War II.

You also see some of the reenactments of World War II air battles, such as the Pearl Harbor attack, done by the CAF during the Airsho.

Growing up in Harlingen, TX, I was privileged to have attended the Airsho filmed above in 1980, as well as every one from 1978 (when I was nine years old) to their last one in 1991 before relocating their headquarters to Midland, TX.  Needless to say, going to these airshows really shaped how I view the world and my political leanings, because what the CAF gave me was a sense of patriotism, love for country, appreciation for our military, and a history lesson I never learned in school, and what most people today are unaware of. I'm sure your average 20 year old thinks Jimmy Doolittle is the proper name of Dr. Dootlittle, and the Ploesti Raid is something that happens on a girl's dormitory at the local college.  I'm sure if most of the founders of the CAF were alive today, they'd be even more shocked at the state of the world in 2015, as they were in 1980.

Though I missed the flyover yesterday, I did go out today to the Manassas, VA Regional Airport and see several of the CAF airplanes which participated in the flyover, including the B-24 Liberator "Diamond Lil"

the P-51 Mustang "Gunfighter"

and the "Queen" of the CAF fleet, the B-29 Superfortress "Fifi"

Last weekend, their B-17 Flying Fortress "Texas Raiders" was in Manassas, VA as well. I had the honor of flying on Texas Raiders back in 1990, and it was the most interesting airplane ride. You got a sense of what it was like to take off with the windows open, and the plane shaking getting off the runway.

Enjoy the videos and the photos, and remember what was done 70 years ago so we might live in freedom today. Don't let the lessons of yesterday be lost on today's generation.

To those who fought 70 years ago and defeated Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, our nation owes you a debt of gratitude. I hope that we may soon wake up as a nation, and get the courage to take on the threats to our freedom with the same sense of purpose and moral clarity as you did.

And to the founders of the CAF, who have been deceased a number of years, thank you for the lessons you taught those of us in the Rio Grande Valley. If it hadn't been for y'all having this living history lesson and patriotic mission, I probably would have grown up to have been a bed-wetting, Obamabot who thought socialism was a pretty cool idea.

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