LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) — Memorial Day is a day to honor and mourn the lives of men and women who made the greatest sacrifice for this country. There is no better place to honor their service, sacrifice, and history than at the aviation museum of Kentucky during their special event.

We talk a lot about honoring our fallen heroes and today many experienced flying in the very aircraft that led the airborne invasion of Normandy on D-Day back in 1944. From the air to the ground, the museum offered guests a unique chance to honor our veterans and remember the sacrifices they made.

It was love at first flight for pilot Doug Rozendaal who visited the aviation museum of Kentucky at their war bird expo flying the plane “That’s All Brother” for the commemorative air force.

“I’ve been flying DC- 3’s and C- 47’s for about 35 years so it’s kind of become normal to me but what’s inspiring to me is using these airplanes as a tool to tell a story. There’s a lot of lessons in World War II that are incredibly appropriate to what’s going on in the world today,” Rozendaal said.

Guests were able to put their hands on history and experience American military aviation up close by learning the stories behind the planes.

“This is the most historic airplane that flies in America today. This C-47 was the lead airplane on the main wave invasion on June 6th of 1944, the D-day landing. It was a lead of 820 airplanes that dropped 11,000 paratroopers behind enemy lines to stop the resupply of ammunition to the guns on the bluffs at Normandy,” Rozendaal said.

Visitors like Andre Kinney said they came for the tours but stayed for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fly.

“When you think back to of the history of these planes in World War II and what these kids went through, you just had to take the flight, you know, to experience what they might have been thinking before they made the jump into enemy territory,” said Kinney.

Feeling the responsibility to keep heroes’ memories alive, Rozendaal said it’s important to pass on stories to the next generation.

“Well, this is a special weekend. It’s a weekend we should all pause and remember the price that was paid, the sacrifices for the freedoms that we enjoy and sadly, I think we often take them for granted. Our mission is raise to the awareness and keep those stories alive so people will pause and remember and think about how something like that could happen again, because it can and it will,” Rozendaal said.

For Andre Kinney, he said if had another chance to do it all over again, he would.

“You know, sitting there thinking about everything and talking to the other passengers and that’s what made it really cool is, you know, just the history and the smoothness of the flight considering the age of the airplane,’ said Kinney.”


Tours continue Sunday and Monday. For more information on how to honor our heroes and see Lexington from above click on Warbird Expo.