This Memorial Day there will be a special remembrance — one from the air.
With many American Legion services canceled or limited in public participation, there will be a flyover salute the morning of May 25 across Iroquois County.
“To help us remember our fallen veterans, a flyover salute will take place on Memorial Day over several communities in Iroquois County. The flyover will be conducted using a single aircraft flying slowly from east to west over each community at a designated time,” said Ret. USAF Captain Aaron Hattabaugh, one of the organizers of the flyover.
He said residents are asked to step outside around the designated time and look for this aircraft flying slowly westbound over the center of their community. “As the aircraft flies over take a moment to remember all who have given their lives in service to our country.”
The flyover route and times are: Milford — 10 a.m., Sheldon — 10:15 a.m., Watseka — 10:24 a.m., Crescent City — 10:32 a.m., Cissna Park — 10:50 a.m., Buckley — 10:59 a.m., Onarga — 11:09 a.m. and Gilman — 11:16 a.m.
The pilot will be Chuck Bohlmann of Crescent City who owns his own Piper Cub, said Hattabaugh.
“He approached me with the idea after so many Memorial Day events had been canceled as an alternative activity for people to come out and pause in remembrance of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country.
“He holds this holiday in special reverence and I told him I was more than enthused to support its promotion. So this is the first time.
Bohlmann will give a “Gone West” salute. This Hattabaugh explained:
“During WWI, flyers would salute their fallen comrades by raising their glasses and facing West, signifying that their comrade had given the ultimate sacrifice. The salute evolved over the years into an aerial salute flown by a lone aircraft flying westbound in memory of our fallen veterans. The flyover typically takes place near the end of the playing of Taps.”
Bohlmann’s aircraft will be a Piper J-3 Cub built in the 1940s, Hattabaugh explained. “Thousands of Cubs were built in the late ‘30s and ‘40s and used as trainers for both civilian and military pilots. Three out of four pilots in WWII began their flight training in a Piper Cub. The military version of the Cub, designated as an L-4, served in WWII and the Korean war. The L-4 was used in multiple roles; as a liaison aircraft by ‘the brass’, as a forward spotter for artillery and was even modified to carry a stretcher and transport wounded soldiers.”