Special Salute for Vietnam Veterans
For seven days each year, the aviation world descends on Oshkosh, Wis., for the Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA) AirVenture air show, billed as the World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration.
This year, American Airlines, a sponsor of the show held July 29–Aug. 4, hosted a Special Salute to Veterans. On Friday, Aug. 2, American flew 114 Vietnam veterans to Washington, D.C., onboard a 737 aircraft, newly painted with American's livery, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the end of hostilities in Vietnam.
Old Glory Honor Flight, the Northeast Wisconsin hub of The Honor Flight Network, and the EAA arranged a one-day whirlwind tour in the nation’s capital. The veterans from across the country got the chance to visit the awe-inspiring monuments built in their honor, including the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.
Upon their return to Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh (OSH) — the grand finale of Friday’s air show — the heroes were greeted by thousands of people waving flags and hoisting handmade signs, an emotional reception for their service and sacrifice.
Later that evening, Gary Sinise & The Lt. Dan Band gave a performance that lived up to the band’s motto — Honor. Gratitude. Rock & Roll — and Tony Orlando sang “Tie a Yellow Ribbon” to the veterans and their families. Special thanks goes to DAV (Disabled American Veterans) and EAA Warbirds of America for sponsoring the concert.