DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – A fitting Presidents Day tribute hosted visitors in the Presidential Gallery at the Museum of the U.S. Air Force Monday.
A special Plane Talks event featured former pilots, crew members, radio operators, historians and others visiting with guests and leading tours of presidential aircraft.
The SAM 26000, one of the museum’s most iconic presidential airplanes, is famous as the means of transportation for John F. Kennedy’s casket and Lyndon B. Johnson’s in-flight swearing in ceremony.
Guest speaker and museum volunteer Don Brown worked as a pilot and military aide for the White House Transition Team and acted as a domestic affairs advisor to the president. He recalls shuttling Vice President George H.W. Bush on the 26000 aircraft during several historic occasions.
“An Air Force Two trip with it occurred right after (John) Hinckley got famous and tried to assassinate President Reagan,” Brown said.
Other experts regaled visitors with anecdotes from their presidential services.
12-year-olds Reagan Gates and Shawn Collier spent their holiday off of school for the close-up Presidents’ Day history lesson.
Both boys noted seeing the planes in real life was better than reading from a text book.
“Because we can remember the history before we were born,” said Collier.
Gates added, “Sometimes when our grandparents are talking we don’t know what they mean, but (here) we can learn what they’re talking about.”
Speakers and museum volunteers said passing along their knowledge continues the excitement from the presidential service.
“To meet the people from all over the world who come to see what we have at the museum here is really a thrill and an exciting part of my life,” Brown said.
The Presidents Day Plane Talks event is part of an ongoing series at the Air Force museum marking important conflicts and military events. The next Plane Talks event will celebrate National Vietnam War Veterans Day on Friday, March 29th.
You can learn more about the series and other upcoming events by clicking here.