Veterans Day Service Recalls Community Heroes

Story and photos by Susan Maxwell Skinner  |  2019-11-14

Military veterans and supporters joined a salute during November 11 observances in Carmichael.

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) – Carmichael’s Vietnam Memorial was last weekend central to Veterans Day commemorations. Flags, music and memories were shared by 180 visitors.

Among speakers was Congressman Ami Bera’s representative Matthew Ceccato, a Purple Heart Army veteran currently contesting a Sacramento Board of Supervisors seat. “There’s no place I’d rather be today,” Ceccato told fellow veterans. “It’s up to us to keep the sacred trust this country has to respect its veterans. We must uphold the contract they made with their blood and tears.”                                                                                                            

The first-known California monument to the Vietnam War, the memorial is in the Koobs Nature Area on Engle Road. First dedicated in 1973, the steel edifice honors La Sierra High School graduates who died in the war. The nature preserve is named for the late Earl (Ranger Jack) Koobs, a La Sierra science teacher who fostered its establishment as a place of remembrance.

November 11 attendees were invited to make dedications loved ones who had served and died. Rock singer Todd Morgan performed “You’re a Grand Old Flag” and 89-year-old Korean veteran Bill Fellers offered a heartfelt trumpet version of Taps.

Heroes named on the nature area’s monument are: Robert D. Anderson, Mark W. Burchard, Robert S. Bynes, Jerry Cowsert, Kenneth R. Escott, Gary R. Field, Herbert Frenzell, Frank Thornburg, Ralph Guarienti, Larry H. Morford, Thomas C. Pigg, Randall B. Rainville, Kim Richins, Jeffry Tharaldson, Robert A. Willis.

Earl J. Koobs Nature Area is open to visitors. For information, go to www.carmichaelkiwanis.org or visit the Koobs Nature Area site on Facebook.

SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - In California, there are more than 62,000 youth living in foster care and more than 34,000 waiting for a permanent family. In Sacramento County alone, there are 1,690 children and youth in out-of-home care with about 350 of them needing a loving and affirming forever family. 

Each November during National Adoption Month, Sacramento County wants to remind the community that you can make a difference in the life of a child by becoming a resource parent/family. These resource parents, once known as foster parents, provide love, parental care, guidance and stability to children until they can either return to their parents or provide a permanent home through adoption or legal guardianship.

Whether you are married or single, gay or straight, a homeowner or a renter, an aunt, teacher or simply a loving person that wants to positively impact the life of a child, Sacramento County Department of Child, Family and Adult Services hopes you will consider fostering a child. 

We have a particular need for new resource families that can help us move children from a group home setting to a family-based setting. The more families who can open their doors to our children and youth, the better. We are looking for resource families who are able to foster all ages, but particularly, teenagers, LGBTQ youth, African-American children, children with medical needs, emergency/last-minute placements and homes for sibling sets. 

Sacramento County supports, trains and offers guidance, support and assistance to resource families to make sure the journey is a positive transition. While reuniting children with their biological families is the primary goal, staff can help resource parents adopt or take legal guardianship when reunification is not possible.  There is now only one approval process, which creates a continuous care experience for children, as they will not have to switch homes at the point of adoption. 

On November 6, we pause our busy lives long enough to speak the names of thousands of California children who are waiting in foster care for the love and support of a permanent family. Sacramento County and several adoption agencies are hosting the 31st Annual Calling Out of Names at the State Capitol in Room 112 from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.  During the vigil, adoptive parents, child advocates, community leaders and elected officials will take turns reading the names and ages of every single child in California that is waiting for a permanent family. Sadly, some names have been read year after year.

Another event to recognize National Adoption will be held later in the month, when Sacramento Superior Court judges and staff, Department of Child and Family Adult Services, Child Protective Services, Sheriff’s Department, Lilliput, Sierra Forever Families, Uplift, Koinonia, CASA and Soroptomist of Greater Sacramento come together to celebrate the adoptions of several children and their forever families. Along with the adoption proceedings, there will be refreshments and activities for children including hand painting, family photos, balloons and much more. 

If you are interested in learning more about becoming a resource family for local foster children or an adoptive parent, please attend the next Resource Family/Adoptive Parent Orientation or call (916) 875-5543 and visit the Sacramento County Department of Child, Family and Adult Services Resource Family web page.

 

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SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) released the following statement after Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 113, a housing trailer bill into law. The newly-signed legislation addresses the state's plan to spend $331 million in national mortgage settlement funds. Senate Democrats passed SB 113 on a partisan vote.

The $331 million was created as part of the National Settlement Defense Fund in 2012 following the mortgage crisis. The funds were intended to help distressed homeowners who were victims of predatory lending. But Governor Jerry Brown used the funds to backfill the state budget. The National Asian American Coalition (NAAC) sued the state of California in 2012 for the return of the funds and was finally victorious in July 2019.

Both the previous and current Democratic governors, Brown and Newsom, appealed earlier court rulings against their actions until the California Supreme Court directed the state of California to assist homeowners as originally promised.

In September, Governor Newsom's administration testified that it plans to take a year or more to set up a nonprofit trust that would invest the funds in still-unknown ways, and that it would only spend investment profits, not the actual settlement funds. 

“Since 2015, Senate Republicans have been fighting to help struggling homeowners who suffered during the mortgage meltdown. Families should have had their victory at long last, but instead the Newsom administration has concocted a scheme to study the issue for another year and then channel the funds through a vague and possibly risky investment trust. 

“This decision will create a needless delay of potentially two more years before homeowners might see a dollar in assistance from unknown investment profits.  Also, if the investments lose money, there is no guarantee that the trust would have any profits to spend on homeowner assistance. 

“Families in California already face affordability issues in our state, and now this overdue assistance is delayed once again. This legislation should have simply directed the state to immediately spend the $331 million for its intended purpose of assisting homeowners, not create more delays and disappointments,” said Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove.

Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove represents California's 16th Senate District which encompasses large portions of Kern, Tulare and San Bernardino counties and including the cities of Bakersfield, Barstow, California City, Exeter, Frazier Mountain, Joshua Tree, Mojave, Needles, Ridgecrest, Rosamond, Taft, Tehachapi, Twentynine Palms, Tulare, Visalia, Yucca Valley and portions of the Kern River Valley. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Five Survivors Reflect on the Camp Fire A Year Later

By Seti Long  |  2019-11-07

Survivors Avalon and Rocky Glucksman, while having different coping methods, find strength in each other. Photo by Seti Long

GRIDLEY, CA (MPG) - As the one year anniversary of the devastating Camp Fire falls upon us, we are reminded of the events that transpired that November morning, the emotions felt and the sheer destruction left in the fire’s wake.

The following is a profile on how a few are handling the anniversary and their journey towards recovery.

A bright spot, in any crowd, Lucy Love is a beacon of hope and represents the resilient spirit of the Paradise community. She describes herself as a “glass overflowing (with wine!)” kind of gal.  She relocated to Gridley shortly after losing everything to the fire and threw herself into service to her neighbors and fellow survivors at the Camp Fire Distribution Center Downtown. Volunteering has been a big part of her recovery process. Love says, “I think a lot of them feel like you’re not only volunteering, but you are going along, getting ahead with your life and think ‘Well if she can do it, I can too’, but then you have others that are still feeling raw, and hurt.”

Love shares that it’s the little things that get to her at times, leaving small patches in her memory. Like remembering how the cabinets in her kitchen were set up, missing simple items like her favorite potato peeler or repeating “Virginia’s house just caught on fire!!” three times to her daughter on the phone while escaping the blaze.

Also, she is not the only one that has experienced a little brain-fog.

Using only her first name for reasons of anonymity, Barbara, also lost everything in the fire. She remembers her evacuation process and seeing the reflection of the fire coming over the horizon, but ever since the blaze she has experienced memory loss. It has severely impacted her life. “I have withdrawn from people,” she says, because she is nervous she will stumble over words or forget mid-sentence “some days are better than others.”

Barbara shares how she is approaching her healing journey and her emotions surrounding the anniversary. Honest and raw, she shares the sentiments that many survivors will relate to but may be a little hesitant in sharing: “I just want to ignore it and hope it will go away – push it back in my mind… I think maybe when the day passes, people will stop talking about it so much. I don’t need to be reminded what happened – I know!” She continues, “I’m 80 and I don’t think that I will live long enough to get over it.”

Avalon and Rocky Glucksman’s memories of the day remain vivid. The pair bought their dream home in Paradise in June of last year, were married in October, and lost everything in November. Rocky recounts of the fire that it was “Pitch black at 8:00 in the morning - it was that dark,” and Avalon adds, “Luckily we had some extra gas from the lawn mower to put in our tank” as they made their way out of the blaze. She shares, “I saw people burning in their vehicles; I saw skeletons completely; I saw people’s flesh coming off their bones…”

Despite the horrific details of their escape, Avalon tries to remain positive and throws herself into helping others. The couple started volunteering shortly after finding stable housing and organizing donations to help other survivors. “One of the reasons why we volunteer a lot is because it keeps my mind off of everything,” she shares. At times the emotions are still very raw. As the anniversary nears, she has noticed her “anger coming out a little bit more. I’m not crying, ‘it’s not fair!’ I’m screaming into pillows because I think it’s the most constructive way to deal with it.” Her husband Rocky worries about her saying, “she doesn’t take care of herself. That’s the problem, because she is so focused on everyone else,” she suffers.

Rocky, a Vietnam veteran, feels that they could have it a lot worse. “What I try to do,” he says, “is don’t look at what happened, but look forward… I’ve got to keep looking forward, I can’t think of all the things I have lost because I can’t replace them…” He continues, “I don’t let it take me down – it’s not healthy.”

The Glucksmans intend to move back to Paradise once construction on their home is complete.

Survivor Ruth Nierenhausen seems to share that sentiment. She recalls her escape with her daughter Linda Wells. Linda grabbed her curlers and Ruth her medication as fiery coals were dropping from the sky around their trailer from the pine trees exploding. She lost everything in the fire – home, car and friends that scattered to the wind. She has relocated to Yuba City with other family members that also lost everything in the fire. Her daughter Alice Thompson says that her mother “holds everything in,” and Ruth agrees, “I try not to get too emotional.” But she is reminded daily of the disaster when she goes to reach for something, finding it not there because it was claimed by the blaze. Despite everything, Ruth stays strong. She says, “My mother always told me, you can’t cry over spilled milk.”

 

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SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) – Wells Fargo recently awarded Society for the Blind in Sacramento a $20,000 grant to provide education, training and assistive devices to 500 Sacramento-area seniors who are blind or have low vision. The funding will support the group’s Senior IMPACT Project that empowers people age 55 and older who have vision loss with alternative non-visual techniques and skills that enable them to perform daily tasks and activities so they can maintain or increase independence.

“With Sacramento’s rapidly growing senior population, requests for our services are higher than ever,” said Shari Roeseler, executive director, Society for the Blind. “Thanks to Wells Fargo’s generous funding, we can provide even more seniors who are blind or have low vision with the support they need to age safely, preserve their independence and connect with their community.”

Society for the Blind is the sole provider of comprehensive rehabilitative services for people who are blind or have low vision throughout 27 counties in northern California. The group’s Senior IMPACT Project includes a monthly eight-day retreat that gives seniors an immersion experience to learn alternative techniques and skills to travel safely, efficiently and independently. They practice alternative techniques and use adapted tools to perform tasks of daily living including cooking, cleaning, shopping, home maintenance, organization, personal finance and more. They learn how to use the latest in assistive technology to operate computers and mobile devices for home, school and work, and they learn Braille. Participants receive individualized attention from instructors and mentors who are blind or low vision, and they have the opportunity to join discussion groups with peers on issues around vision loss and participate in community activities.

For those unable to attend retreats, Society for the Blind sends instructors to their homes to teach skills and offer resources. The project also includes monthly peer support groups for English and Spanish speakers and workshops throughout the year. The project recently expanded services to the Asian community, offering a monthly support group for Asian language speakers.

“As our loved ones age, one of the highest priorities is to ensure they can navigate the world around them with dignity, even if they experience declines in health or mental and physical agility,” said Kären Woodruff, community relations associate manager, Wells Fargo. “Wells Fargo is proud to continue support for Society for the Blind’s Senior IMPACT Project, which provides tools for seniors facing changes in their vision or vision loss, allowing them to remain self-sufficient and independent into their golden years.”

Celebrating its 65th anniversary this year, Society for the Blind has created innovative ways to empower individuals living with low vision or blindness to discover, develop and achieve their full potential. Society for the Blind has grown from a dedicated group of volunteers to a nationally recognized agency and the only comprehensive rehabilitative teaching center that provides services for a 27-county region of northern California. The nonprofit provides low-vision eye care, life and job skills training, mentorship, and access to tools to maintain independence for more than 5,000 youth, working-age adults and seniors experiencing vision loss each year. For more information or to make a donation, visit SocietyfortheBlind.org.

The Wells Fargo Foundation is the company’s primary philanthropic funding arm. As part of Wells Fargo’s long legacy of investing in community impact, the company has increased its philanthropic giving 25 times over the past 28 years. In 2018, Wells Fargo reached a new milestone of donating $444 million to directly benefit nearly 11,000 nonprofit organizations. To learn more, visit WellsFargo.com.

 

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Spend Twenty Minutes With Me

By Sal Arrigo, Jr.  |  2019-10-23

Present at this year’s 14th Annual California Capital Airshow at Mather Airport are Delane Buttacavoli, left, and Kaitlan Comm, two members of the WASP National Soar Tour. Photo by Sal Arrigo Jr.

Women’s Airforce Service Pilots Were Instrumental in Training  WWII Pilots

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - Attending the 14th Annual California Capital Airshow at Mather Airport on October 5-6, 2019, was a thrilling experience!

My original intent was to focus and write about the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion which was one of the highlights of the show. As it turned out, I was distracted by a documentary that was being filmed about the WASP organization.  As I eavesdropped, I became more and more interested in the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots who were very instrumental in adding to the success of the United States Air Force.

I have never heard of this military group, but by show’s end, I became quite a fan.  The WASP organization was formed in 1942 with 23 women making up the first graduate group of Service Pilots. Their job was to ferry and test aircraft and to train other personnel in their use.  While this group became part of history by being the first women to fly military aircraft for the United States, their organizational mission was just beginning.  The title of this article is attributed to Kimberly Johnson, one of the keepers of the official archives of the WASP organization located at Texas Women’s University in Denton, Texas.  Kimberly told me a fascinating story about Colonel Paul Tibbetts, the pilot of the Enola Gay and the B-29 Superfortress, (the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan during World War II). “The B-29 was a scary plane to fly and the male pilots were finding excuses not to fly it,” said Kimberly.  Colonel Tibbets had to find a way to convince his pilots to start training and becoming familiar with the aircraft. He turned to the WASP’s and found that Dorothea Moorman and Dora Daugherty were willing to fly the B-29 and encouraged the male pilots by telling them it was safe to fly. “Imagine the look on the male pilots’ faces when two ladies stepped off the plane!” she concluded.

I had the privilege of learning so much more about the WASP’s and came to realize that more than 25,000 women signed up to join the first class! The WASP’s were official members of the United States Air Force, but it took more than 60 years before Congress bestowed upon the group the Congressional Gold Medal for contributions made during World War II.

One of the WASP display highlights was a B-25 Mitchell medium bomber available for visitors to climb aboard and visit the cockpit. This is where I found pilot and Boeing engineer Vera Martinovich. She flew the B-25 from its base in Madras, Oregon to Mather Airport and was experiencing her first airshow. The plane is part of the Erickson Aircraft Collection, an organization with “a wide variety of WW II Aircraft,” which began in the 1970s.

As I climbed into the cockpit area, I asked Vera if she experiences “any visitors” when she is flying the B-25? “I think about those 20-year old WASP’s talking together,” she said. She joined as a pilot to fly the B-25 “to keep them flying” to honor the history of the WASP pilots. As we spoke, Vera mentioned the people who were attending the airshow, hoping that they “could truly grasp and realize what the WASP pilots accomplished.” I had to agree it is an important piece of our nation’s military history, and one that needs to be told on a more frequent basis. The Women Airforce Service Pilots crosses many generations and has made an impact on young women of today. It certainly made an impact on Vera as she said “this is the plane I wanted to fly.”

I also met two other pilots who emphasized the importance for the general public to know about the WASP’s. Delane Buttacavoli and Kaitlan Comm are part of the WASP National Soar Tour. They both told me that they “love the WASP’s” and they wanted to take the WASP story to other airshows across the United States. It was easy to understand these women’s passion for doing so. I watched them enthusiastically greet show spectators and then assist them to climb onboard the B-25.

As with any group throughout history who want to make a positive difference to those around them, I can say the Women Airforce Service Pilots did just that. Kimberly Johnson said she felt the women “persevered and really had something to contribute to the war effort.” As it is stated “the mission of the WASP Archive is to honor the first female military pilots, tell their story of service, bravery, and heroism to their country, and celebrate the place women in aviation occupy today, tomorrow, and yesterday inspiring future generations.”

If you find yourself asking such questions as – “who was the person who approved the program to train the women?”, or “how many of the women died in service to their country while WASP members?” - visit the WASP website at: https://waspmuseum.org/  for answers to these questions and more.

“We live in the wind and sand…and our eyes on the stars.” – Motto of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP)

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International Railfair Celebrates 43 years of Model Railroading

Submitted by International Railfair  |  2019-10-23

Trains featured can be small toys for children or impressive, finely-crafted exact replicas, which will make your jaw drop with nostalgia for yesteryears. Photo courtesy: International Railfair

ROSEVILLE, CA (MPG) - Model train enthusiasts shouldn’t miss the 43rd annual International Railfair on Saturday, November 9 and Sunday, Nov. 10 at The Grounds, at Placer County Fairgrounds at 800 All America City Boulevard in Roseville.

Open to the public, the West’s premier model railroad show will be held between 10 am and 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, and features American and European operating layouts, hobby clinics, vendors and a Trainmart consignment store for hobbyists who may want to sell items in their personal railroad inventory.

Kids love model railroads.  And so do adult kids!  Be sure to bring your cameras and plan to spend a day full of fun.

Four model railroad clubs and organizations: Sacramento Modular Railroaders, Roseville Roundhouse Model Railroad Club, European Train Enthusiasts, and the Sierra Division of the National Model Railroad Association put on International Railfair each year.

Explore three buildings at the Placer County Fairgrounds in Roseville which will be filled with operating model railroads of many different scales, and vendors who sell model railroad and railfan products. Explore model train layouts in narrow gauge, Lionel, HO, N, Z, O, S, G and live steam in action.

Three sponsors of International Railfair, the Roseville Roundhouse Model Railroad Club, the European Train Enthusiasts and the Sacramento Modular Railroaders, will be operating their large club model railroads at this year’s show.

The Sacramento Valley Garden Railway Club will display their G scale modular garden layout that features an operating sawmill and other action scenes, many with sound.

Don’t miss the Sacramento Modular Railroaders double-track HO scale layout which features an operating turntable and steam facilities at one end. Many buildings in the yard and on modules are lighted. In operation, the group regularly runs long trains of 75 cars or more, many which are sound-equipped.

Another family favorite is the two children’s starter layouts, designed and set up so children attending the show can earn a junior engineer badge as they operate a model train on a finished model railroad on their own. The two layouts are set up in separate buildings on the fairgrounds (Jones Hall and Johnson Hall) and both layouts are HO Scale. Junior Engineer trains will be rolling throughout both Saturday and Sunday.

Hot food and drinks will be available at the snack bars and seating will be available in both Jones and Johnson Hall.

Cash only admission cost is $10 for adults. Children under 12 years of age are free. Fairgrounds parking at the Placer County Fairgrounds is $10. A Sunday family admission special for parents and children is $15. For more information visit: www.internationalrailfair.com

 

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CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month 1918 – an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in the First World War.  Since no one knew that there would be a sequel in 20 years, it was known as “the Great War” or the war to end all wars but didn’t have a number. Commemorated as Armistice Day beginning the following year, November 11th became a legal federal holiday in the United States in 1938.  In the aftermath of World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day became Veterans Day, a holiday dedicated to American veterans.  Unlike Memorial Day, it was not intended to just remember those that fell in battle.  Instead it was a day to recognize all those men and women that have served over the course of 241 years of this nation’s existence.  Whether the service was in war time or peace time or in foreign countries or at home, the Veteran would be recognized on this day.  The veteran knows not what the situation will be when they sign the bottom line and raise their right hand and promise to support and defend the constitution.  Peace time quickly can become war time.

Every year, Sylvan Cemetery in Citrus Heights honors those that gave that served in the defense of their county. This year the Veterans Day service will be held on Monday, November 11, 2019, at Sylvan Cemetery, 7401 Auburn Blvd., Citrus Heights.  The ceremony begins at 10:30 with a march through the historical section of the cemetery, stopping briefly at each flag station to read a prayer and salute the flag.  The men marching include the American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary, VFW, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Sons of the American Revolution, Boys Scout troop 228, Police Officers of the Citrus Heights Police Department and all others that wish to march.  This march will last about 30 minutes.  The march will conclude at the gazebo where there will be a one hour ceremony.  Many of the men marching will be in uniform – past and present – from American Revolution to modern day.

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SMUD Helps Sponsor the Hubble Space Telescope Exhibit

By Lindsay VanLaningham, SMUD  |  2019-10-17

The tunnel leading into the Hubble telescope exhibit. Photo courtesy of SMUD/Aerospace Museum of California

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Among a crowd of Sacramento leaders, SMUD announced a partnership with the Aerospace Museum of California and a $50,000 sponsorship to host NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope Exhibit for local students to experience a once-in-a-lifetime STEM education experience.

The announcement came as dozens of area leaders, residents and children got a sneak peek of the exhibit as it opened its doors to the public for Fall 2019.

“This is an incredible opportunity to expose students to science, technology, engineering and math in a new and innovative way,” said SMUD CEO and General Manager Arlen Orchard. “Our goal is to help the museum inspire and expose students from all over the region to the expansive possibilities in STEM education and STEM-related careers, so they truly can reach for the stars.”

The exhibit features a scaled replica of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and includes hands-on, interactive activities that allow students to explore the technology used in space to gaze at distant stars, planets and galaxies. They will also be able to learn about the new James Webb Space Telescope and how it will contribute to our knowledge into the future.

The exhibit will be on display through December 2019 and is expected to draw thousands of visitors.

In partnership with the museum, SMUD’s goal is to reach 15,000 students with this STEM education experience, particularly those in historically underserved communities. A large portion of the grant provides transportation funding for Title 1 schools, as well as free participation in the program; teacher membership; and continuing education resources.

“We’re excited to host this amazing exhibit in California for the very first time,” stated Executive Director for the Aerospace Museum Tom Jones. “The Hubble Space Telescope exhibit is a perfect complement to our other artifacts that can help tell the story of aerospace from the beginning to well into the future.”

Funding for this project comes from SMUD’s Sustainable Communities Initiative that seeks to leverage resources for community partners in order to provide increased access to employment, healthcare, STEM education and more. This is one of many projects that will enhance the Sacramento community

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California Capital Airshow Fills Hearts and Minds

MPG Staff  |  2019-10-10

The USAF Heritage Flight featuring the F-16 Viper and the iconic World War II Era P-38. Photo by Jose Lopez

If you missed the big show, here are some great highlights!

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