Planning in Full Force to Commemorate the 75th Anniversary of WWII’s End

The Arsenal of Democracy Flyover will fly past monuments on the Washington Mall, including the World War II and Lincoln Memorials. Tony Granata, Courtesy of Commemorative Air Force

World War II ended in a series of events marked by two prominent milestones in 1945—the end of the war in Europe in May, and the closing of the war in the Pacific in August and September, with the final conclusion of the war marked by the signing of the instrument of surrender of the Axis forces in the Pacific on board the USS Missouri in Oahu, Hawaii, on September 2.

The 75th anniversary commemoration of V-E Day—the day World War II officially ended in Europe—will take place from May 6-10, 2020. A consortium of associations and commemorative groups plans a major flyover of warbirds to soar through the skies of Washington, D.C., on May 8. Commemorative events marking the end of the war in the Pacific will follow, from August 29 to September 2, in Oahu, centered around the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum.

A series of flights honoring various segments of the aerial forces, including a flight of training aircraft, will comprise the Arsenal of Democracy Flyover and Legacy of Peace Aerial Parade. Tony Granata, Courtesy of Commemorative Air Force

The 75th WWII Commemoration has been authorized through legislation under the Department of Defense, which “provides the umbrella for all official events,” according to a press release distributed by the consortium’s organizers. The honorary co-chairmen nationally for the event are Senator Bob and Elizabeth Dole, with Linda Hope as national presenting sponsor, representing the Bob and Dolores Hope Foundation. The commemoration is intended to create “renewed and heightened awareness” for the historic events, the ramifications of which the world feels 75 years later. In doing so, the events will honor “the Greatest Generation,” and illuminate their achievements and efforts as inspiration for future generations.

Many ways exist for those interested to participate, including banquets in Washington and Oahu, and ceremonies at the respective memorials in D.C. and Pearl Harbor. And—best of all—two aerial demonstrations will highlight the commemorative activities. The Arsenal of Democracy Flyover on May 8 will feature a planned 100 aircraft from the war over Washington, and the Legacy of Peace Aerial Parade in Oahu will take place on three days over the course of the commemoration in Hawaii. Sponsorship opportunities are available through the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum or the 75th WWII Commemoration Committee.

Based in Maryland, Julie is an editor, aviation educator, and author. She holds an airline transport pilot certificate with Douglas DC-3 and CE510 (Citation Mustang) type ratings. She's a CFI/CFII since 1993, specializing in advanced aircraft and flight instructor development. Follow Julie on Twitter @julieinthesky.

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