April 16, 1972 is the date when U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Dan Cherry shot down an enemy plane piloted by Lt. Nguyen Hong My in the sky over Hanoi.
On that day this year the two pilots were reunited as friends.
The April 16 dedication of Aviation Heritage Park at Bowling Green, Kentucky, is a project that has been five years in the making. Right now, the only aircraft on display there is the F-4 Phantom that Cherry flew on the day he shot down Hong My’s Mig 21, and it was alongside that old fighter that the two men, who once fought on opposite sides of a war, came together at a place aimed at preserving history.
Stepping into the airplane that once shot down his aircraft, Lt. Hong My affirmed that it’s not just the youth of America who can appreciate the park. “I feel very happy to have a chance to visit America and meet all the American people,” he said. “This moment is very precious in my life.”
“I think it reflects the spirit of the citizens of Bowling Green and Warren County to see so many of them turn out for this event. It was very gratifying,” Cherry commented. “So many of us have worked so hard on this project, and now we’ve gotten to the point to where it’s truly open to the public. It can start accomplishing its primary mission and purpose, to be an educational facility to young people,” he said.
“Not only can young children come to look at the airplane, but their parents can tell them about the Vietnam War, the things that happened, and touch history a bit,” added Congressman Brett Guthrie.
For information: www.aviationheritagepark.com