Combining country fair fun with a salute to veterans, Flabob Airport at Riverside, Calif., celebrated Veterans Day with thousands of military veterans and area residents.
Featuring entertainment in the USO style, along with enough airplanes to give Flabob the feeling of a very relaxed air base, the large crowd never lacked for things to do and see, according to those who were there.
Swing bands played music from the “big band” era and bagpipers marched through the long history of Scots military tunes. Stand-up comedians performed from USO-style stages, as did Andrews Sisters look-alikes. Junior ROTC teams performed competitive drill exercises. The mess hall served – what else? – traditional “SOS” and the NCO Club served appropriate beverages and live polka music.
Despite high winds, a large number of pilots flew in to join military aircraft from the Planes of Fame museum. Fly-bys included a Missing Man formation of T-34s and low passes by a P-51, P-38 and Douglas SBD dive bomber. Wings and Rotors saluted Vietnam veterans with helicopter displays, and no less than eight re-enactor groups set up bivouacs representing military units from the American Revolution to World War II.
“We focused on having fun, showing respect and making the event as American as apple pie,” said organizer Jon Goldenbaum. “It’s part of the plan to make the airport a valuable and revered asset within the community (and) goes a long way toward strengthening the airport’s bond with the community.”
Plans already are being made for Veterans Day in 2007.