Decoration Day, renamed as Memorial Day by an act of Congress in 1971, is celebrated on the last Monday in May. It is a day to remember our war dead, all those who gave their lives in battle to keep our nation free and allow our citizens to claim freedoms and rights for which most have never sacrificed through service to our country.
On Monday, May 29, there will be several events held locally to mark the solemn occasion.
At 9 am, King’s Mountain Post 24 of the American Legion will begin the day by hosting the Johnson City Memorial Day Ceremony at the WWI “Spirit of the American Doughboy” statue in Memorial Park (531 East Main Street near the Senior Center & Major Homer Pease Post Office). The ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. Historian Allen Jackson will explain the origins of Decoration Day and intention of Memorial Day. All citizens, veterans, family and friends, are welcome to attend and participate in this annual remembrance event.
At 11 a.m., Mountain Home Veteran’s Administration will host a Memorial Day Service near the main Bandstand/Flag Pole. Signs will provide direction to the site. The Mountain Home National Cemetery will be open all day for Citizens to pay their respects.
At 3 pm in Jonesborough, a ceremony will be conducted at the Veteran’s Park (Boone Street, near Post Office) in remembrance of those lost in service to our country.
Finally the Johnson City/Washington County Veteran’s Memorial (703 W. Main Street & Veterans Way) will present a colorful ceremony including service flags, honor guard and an inspirational guest speaker at 6 p.m.
Leading up to Memorial Day, Tri-Cities Airport will partner with Tri-City Aviation to welcome the Commemorative Air Force AirPower History Tour, featuring some of the rarest World War II aircraft. Attendees will have the opportunity to witness the distinctive rumble of radial engines from the B-29 Superfortress “FIFI” and B-24 Liberator “Diamond Lil” as they soar through the skies.
Accompanying the two bombers will be a T-6 Texan, a PT-13 Stearman, and an RC-45J Expeditor, along with the P-51D Mustang “Gunfighter” making an appearance. The CAF AirPower History Tour will showcase the sights, sounds, and stories of World War II aviation and will allow visitors to view all aircraft up close, purchase rides, and tour the B-29 and B-24 cockpits when the aircraft are not flying.
The event is open to the public Friday through Sunday, May 26-28, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Visitors will have access to the ramp at Tri-City Aviation for a fee of $20 for adults, $10 for children ages 11-17 and free for children 10 and under. Rides on the T-6, PT-13, RC-45J, and P-51D will be available each day, with the B-29 flying on Saturday and Sunday at 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. and the B-24 flying on Saturday and Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. Cockpit tours of the B-29 and B-24 will be available on Friday beginning at 9 a.m., and on Saturday and Sunday when the aircraft are done flying.
Visitors can book rides in advance at airpowersquadron.org, where they can also find additional information about the event.