Women in Aviation International members and friends will #HonorTheWASP over Memorial Day weekend by visiting their graves and leaving an appropriate decoration in the form of flowers or other remembrances — and invite others to join them.
“For individuals and families – and even companies – looking for a meaningful way to observe Memorial Day, #HonorTheWASP provides a way to do that,” says WAI President Dr. Peggy Chabrian. “Visiting and decorating a WASP gravesite is a history lesson, a way to honor these pioneering pilots, and, for most, a moving and emotional experience.”
You don’t have to be a WAI member to #HonorTheWASP. A database of WASP gravesites, including Google maps to their locations, can be found here. The original database was provided by Texas Woman’s University, the repository of the Women Airforce Service Pilots Archive, and augmented through research efforts of WAI staff.
#HonorTheWASP was launched last year, with nearly 100 WASP gravesites visited and decorated. With the improved maps and database, WAI’s goal is to increase that number substantially, according to officials.
Participants are asked to photograph the decorated grave along with information on who and where and tweet it all using the hashtag #HonorTheWASP. WAI will retweet all posts to its nearly 15,000 Twitter followers.
“We have a group of WAI members who will #HonorTheWASP who are buried at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as a young woman who will #HonorTheWASP who were buried at sea,” adds Chabrian. “And since we are an international organization, we encourage anyone outside the United States to honor their own country’s women aviation military heroes.”
About the WASP
The Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) was formed in August 1943 as an adjunct to the Army Air Forces’ war effort. The organization was made up of two civilian-flying groups: The Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron and the Women’s Flying Training Detachment.
Under the guidance of Jacqueline Cochran, the WASP became involved in all aspects of military flying operations, with the exception of combat and overseas ferrying.
More than 1,000 WASP pilots flew more than 70 million miles and delivered 12,650 airplanes across the country during their time of operation. The WASP program was suspended in December 1944.