More than 50 World War II aircraft flew over the nation’s capital Friday to commemorate the Allies’ defeat of Nazi Germany 70 years ago.
Arsenal of Democracy: WWII Victory Capitol Flyover, an event celebrating Victory in Europe Day, provided a rare sight for observers on the National Mall. As USA Today explains:
“It’s unique enough that those planes are fighters and bombers from WWII, but they are also flying a path that’s been severely restricted since the terrorist hijackings Sept. 11, 2001.”
Organizers of the event said it took a year to coordinate a flight path that took the vintage planes nearby national monuments, including the Lincoln Memorial, at a low 1,000-foot altitude. Reagan National Airport also closed for an hour for the flyover.
— Zach C. Cohen (@Zachary_Cohen) May 8, 2015
The planes flew in formations reminiscent of the war’s decisive battles of World War II that ended when Germany surrendered in May 1945. The planes from the flyover will be temporarily displayed at the National Air and Space Museum on Saturday.
Hundreds of people, including many WWII veterans, gathered at the National Mall to witness the flyover on Friday. In memory of 400,000 Americans and 60 million people killed worldwide during the war, dozens of veterans laid wreaths at the National World War II Memorial. President Obama also honored the veterans in his weekly address, calling them the “generation that literally saved the world — that ended the war and laid a foundation for peace.”