Celebrating Memorial Day with a trip to the National Museum of the US Air Force.
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Americans have honored those lost in war in some shape or another since just after the Civil War. Memorial Day as we know it—a federal holiday on the last Monday in May—is more recent, dating back to 1968. But the sentiment is the same—remembering those who paid the ultimate price in defense of their country. Since a recent trip happened to take us by the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio, we’ve decided to celebrate it here at Ars by bringing you this gallery of some fine-looking warbirds.
The museum can be found at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. It’s truly vast—even giants of the air like the B-36 and B-52 can seem small underneath the roof of one of its hangars. It also has some rather significant planes in its collection, notably Bockscar, one of the two B-29s that dropped atom bombs on Japan in World War II (the Enola Gay lives at the Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy collection in Dulles, VA).
The collections under those massive hangers are organized chronologically, from the beginning of flight through World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War, through to today. Sadly, we weren’t able to check out one of the museum’s most fascinating aircraft, the remaining North American XB-70 Valkyrie; the new hanger for research and experimental aircraft (and old Air Force Ones) doesn’t open until next week.