It’s a tradition that spans the U.S. in concert with Memorial Day, when we gather to honor those who gave their lives in the defense of and service to our country. Members of Women in Aviation International and friends take the opportunity to remember the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) that flew for the colors in World War II.
While they weren’t recognized as military veterans until 1977, women pilots have long held the WASP as heroes, mentors, and friends. Since most have now flown west—passed away, in aviation parlance—those pilots honor their kindred spirits by attending to the graves of the WASP no longer with us on Memorial Day.
From a WAI statement, the mission is made clear: to visit the graves and leave flowers or other “appropriate remembrances.” Now in its fifth year, the #HonorTheWASP program has adjusted slightly to suit the times. It “was originally envisioned to take place over the Memorial Day weekend each year. In an effort to allow participants to observe best social-distancing practices, WAI offers that large groups can be easily avoided by visiting gravesites over the entire month of May as opposed to just on Monday, May 30, Memorial Day.”
If you locate a WASP gravesite near you to visit, mark the occasion if you wish, by sharing a photo on social media with the hashtag: #HonorTheWASP