DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Families are giving their loved ones’ memories a permanent home in the Miami Valley. Thursday, the Museum of the U.S. Air Force dedicated the latest additions to its Wall of Honor.
Though the annual program was forced indoors by inclement weather, dozens of people turned out for the Legacy Data Plate Wall of Honor Tribute Ceremony. It included a reading of each of 210 names added since May 24, 2018.
The data plate tradition started with early military aircraft as a way to identify them in crashes.They typically list the builder, aircraft model designation, serial number, and other important information.
The Air Force Museum Foundation sells the plates for a small fee to raise money and memorialize individuals for their military service.
“The museum’s unofficial motto is ‘we are the keepers of the stories.’ It is our duty to remember,” explained Mike Imhoff, the foundation executive director.
Trotwood widow Gladys Turner Finney purchased a data plate to honor her late husband and attended Thursday’s event.
“It’s very special to be here and to be here with all these other people who have so much pride in their loved ones and their contribution to the American cause,” Turner Finney said.
Vietnam War Veteran Dean Bartling drove from Springfield, Illinois for the occasion. His wife, Peggy, gifted him with a data plate for his 12 years as an Air Force medic.
“I think it is [important], especially for the young kids nowadays, to see who their ancestors were or family. It’s part of history,” Bartling said.
Each data plate includes a short online description about the person or people it’s honoring. The stories are available to read on the Air Force Museum Foundation website. You can find them here.