On June 5th and 6th we attended MAAM's annual WWII Weekend, biggest event of the kind in the US. This huge show accommodates 1700 re-enactors, sixty-some-odd WWII planes, a bunch of authentic military vehicles, and many WWII veterans. We went dressed as the Polish Resistance of the Warsaw Uprising.
Listen to the beautiful sound of those engines... This is the Helldiver, the Dauntless, and the Wildcat, warbirds of the Pacific, flying in formation. They make a terrific noise as they fly overhead, a sort of rattly-banging radial-engine roar. The planes do the craziest stuff, like flying upside down over the crowd.
This year there was a parachute drop from the C-46 Commando transport plane. It was real amazing to see 'the stick' float down just like in the books. Said one paratrooper in France to another, "They say Napoleon was the greatest soldier who ever lived." Said the other paratrooper, "Tell me, where did that guy ever jump?"
Here comes the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk! Isn't she pretty? These birds were flown by a group of volunteer American airmen, 'The Flying Tigers', in China.
This lumbering queen of the skies is a B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bomber. Look at her props whirling as she thunders by, glinting in the bright June sun. During the whole event authentic airplanes are continuously passing overhead.
The airplanes that don't happen to be flying at the moment are parked at sundry intervals on the freeways, and goons can just walk up and pat them fondly, getting grease on their hands.
We wandered around the encampments and met the real Polish re-enactors:
They had some nifty old rifles, which the 'Jan' and 'Maxymilian' were glad to take in hand, as the Polish Home Army was badly equipped. There's the Polish flag in the background, and beyond you can see a transport plane and the British tents.
At intervals throughout the days the Scottish, British, and Australian troops marched by, to the wailing of the bagpipe.
During the skirmish in the French Village the Germans are evicting the French Resistance from its headquarters. However, in subsequent battles, the GIs came to the rescue and won.
In the main Hangar are long tables where you can meet Veterans...
I was astounded and excited to meet a real live Polish Resistance member, Julian Kulski. He was in the resistance when he was only twelve! Read all about it in The Color of Courage--sure to be a terrible, thrilling tale. He returned our salute:
This is a really great event (conglomeration, happening, festival, show). One can just wander along the freeways all day. Oh, look, a B-25, let's go pose with the propeller. Oh, there's a WWII veteran watching the show, let's go meet him. Look up! A Corsair is flying overhead! Isn't it pretty? Watch out, that jeep is going to run us over...
This is the one-and-only flying Superfortress in the world. Also notice that all the flags had forty-eight stars.
Are you coming next year?
(for more information, read Mother's blog)
Posted by Mary Rose