he San Bernardino International Airport’s SBD Fest has grown into a great community event, and, as a newspaper, it’s great that we were able to print our coverage of the air show, which always draws strong attendance from local veterans, in our Veterans Day weekend issue.
As I was growing up, for my family, Veterans Day was always about enjoying time with the veterans of our family, especially my grandfathers. Both served in the Army during World War II.
Grandpa Sal served in Patton’s army fighting in Europe, which he took great pride in. He served in France the last day’s of war. After the war, he joined the Air Force to become an aircraft mechanic.
He worked on many now iconic aircraft while serving stints at many local bases including Norton. Later, he was moved to the nation’s intercontinental ballistic missile program, a guarded secret for many years. He worked on Titan and Atlas missiles, servicing them in their underground silos scattered about the country.
Grandpa Tony was drafted late in the war, but while training he suffered from appendicitis. By the time he recovered from the surgery the war in Europe had ended and the United States began decelerating its mobilization.
So my grandpa was kept state-side where he was tasked with notifying families that their sons and husbands had been killed.
It was a trying job, especially on the few occasions when he was sent to a family he knew.
While I tend to gravitate toward World War II because of my family connections we owe deep gratitude to the sacrifices of veterans of many more wars for our security and freedom.
The air show was a great reminder of this as veterans from all eras were in attendance as were the aircraft from the different conflicts.
World War II was represented by a C-53 Skytrain, a F6F Hellcat and a T-6 Texan. The Vietnam War was represented by an A-4 Skyhawk, and more recent conflicts were represented by Black Hawks, a C-17 Globemaster and F-18 Hornets.
Thank a vet and appreciate those you know.