Across the U.S. this weekend—in concert with Memorial Day, members of Women in Aviation International and friends have taken 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, but large groups went in advance of the holiday weekend to help people avoid crowds if they could.
Several WAI members tweeted with their tributes to the WASP.
#HonorTheWASP Paying tribute to Mary Belle Ahlstrom Smith, 43-3, at Austin Memorial Park. She was an instrument instructor, ferry pilot, test pilot, and transport pilot as well! pic.twitter.com/YG2KPHyrkS— Valerie Scott (@B25flygirl) May 28, 2022
Honor the WASP – Gammy edition— Erin_Miller (@millerlawmd) May 28, 2022
Thank you @WomenInAviation & local Capital region chapter members for coming to Arlington National Cemetery today to #HonorTheWASP 🌹🇺🇸✈️ and to all across the nation who visited WASP WWII gravesites during May#waspwwii #wwii pic.twitter.com/keutgvS3cK