Air Force Museum Memorial Plaque
The sky was cloudless and the air was crisp as about 500 people in a 10-bus caravan arrived at the Air Force Museum for the dedication of the 461st Bomb Group plaque in Memorial Park.
Frank O’Bannon led the way, through many statuary memorials, plaques and trees that had been previously dedicated, to the site of the 461st Bomb Group Memorial. Noisy chatter changed to respectful quiet as a feeling of peace, reflection and pride enveloped everyone.
The dedication service was brief and impressive. There were comments by the museum staff, prayers were offered by the Air Force Chaplain, Captain Bias, and a short history of the Group was read by Ed Izzo. As the ceremony progressed, four jet aircraft overflew the Memorial Park, truly a fitting salute to the fallen members and survivors of the 461st Bomb Group. The Group Colors were beautifully displayed by the VFW Color Guard as the Rifle Squad fired salvos. The bugler sounded taps to end a very touching ceremony.
Frank O’Bannon acknowledged the work of Willie Gibson, 764th BS, and Ed Izzo for arranging for and the placement of our plaque at the Memorial Park.
Many of the spectators had misty eyes as they thought of those who had gone before. There seemed to be an “uplifting after-effect” as the group made their way back through the Memorial Park. Backs seemed a little straighter and steps a little firmer.
A sign at the airport reads “Dayton, birthplace of aviation”. After visiting the Memorial Park and the USAF Museum, Dayton may also be remembered as “Resting place of Eagles”.
Following the dedication the group met in the museum to view the IMax film “The Flyers”. The IMax film incorporates state-of-the-art technology, film frames three times the size of conventional 70mm frames and having six channel stereo. This truly provides the viewer with the sensation of being in the middle of the real flying event. (Many of our ladies covered their eyes at times.) Following the movie, buses conveyed the group to the Wright Patterson AFB Officer’s Club for lunch. All was in readiness with food on the tables for over 500 of us to dine and relax a bit before the afternoon movie thriller and tour of the museum exhibits of over 200 aircraft and missiles.