URBANA — The second annual Remembrance Ceremony for U.S. Army Air Force personnel who served during WWII will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, at the Champaign Aviation Museum, 1652 N. Main St., Urbana.
Museum volunteer Bill Albers said about 120 attended the ceremony last year and he expects a larger crowd this year.
“I got a call from a man looking at the website and reading about the Remembrance Ceremony and he said, ‘Man, this is awesome,’” Albers said. The caller was from the B-26 Marauder Historical Society in Tucson, Arizona, which represents WWII B-26 groups. The groups now include veterans and the children of veterans. Albers said the groups want to visit the museum Oct. 1 as part of their annual reunion. He expects that will add more than 50 attendees, including 10 veterans, to the event.
“Their names will be inducted in the Honor Roll,” Albers said.
Relatives of about 25 USAAF veterans, some living and some passed away, were read into this Veterans of WWII Hall of Honor at last year’s ceremony. Those names will be read by a museum volunteer during the ceremony, and relatives of other USAAF veterans will be invited to read the names of their loved ones, who then will be inducted into the Hall of Honor.
Relatives are asked to download Hall of Honor forms from the museum website: champaignaviationmuseum.org. Scroll down the Home page to the Oct. 1 event and click on the PDF icon. Completed forms will be collected at the museum before the ceremony begins.
Relatives will be asked to approach the podium and read information by the asterisks on the form. The information includes the veteran’s name; date of birth; city of residence or date of death; rank, unit and duties in WWII; special recognitions such as medals; and where and when he retired or was discharged from the military.
Participants again will include the Urbana High School Band members, who will play the national anthem. Other participants will include the Marine Corps League, Springfield; bagpiper Ed Rae; the Connect III Trio; and Marine veteran bugler Mike Hamilton.
Albers said six Piqua High School students will perform the 13-step flag-folding ceremony with a donated burial flag, a ceremony typically performed at a burial site, with the flag folded into a triangle and presented to a survivor.
“They’ve been practicing on this for weeks,” Albers said.
All are invited to the museum and ceremony free of charge. Following the ceremony, visitors can talk to veterans and veterans’ relatives about WWII experiences. Veterans and veterans’ relatives are invited to take mementos, pictures, shadow boxes, medals and books to the museum to share with others.
Those attending can view aircraft and memorabilia on display at the museum, as well as the ongoing restoration of a WWII B-17 bomber.
For more information about the Oct. 1 event or the Champaign Aviation Museum, visit champaignaviationmuseum.org or call 937-652-4710. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Kathy Fox can be reached at 937, 1331, Ext. 1773.