Presque Isle’s memorable 75th anniversary D-Day celebration
To the editor:
Literally thousands converged on Presque Isle’s airport on Sunday, May 19, as a flight of World War II twin-engined transports landed to be greeted by a remarkable mix of young and old, boys and girls, parents and grandfolks — a crowd never before seen.
The planes were the military version of the famed Douglas DC-3 — as C-47s painted in olive-drab — with their special D-Day black and white invasion stripes and U.S. Air Force insignia on their wing undersides and wrapped around the aft portion of their fuselages. There were a couple of commercial DC-3s with them, too, signifying the airline version that first took to the skies in 1935.
The planning and creative hard work of organizing this wonderful event was owing to Kimberley “Kim” Smith of the Presque Isle Historical Society and a member of the city’s municipal office, and Nathan L. Grass, longtime chairman of the Presque Isle Air Museum and a retired general in Maine’s National Guard.
These two, aided by the behind-the-scenes contacts by the City’s airport manager, Scott Wardwell, and a phalanx of friends and volunteers pulled off a joyous celebration with remarkable, seemingly effortless coordination of parking the aircraft in the General Aviation section of the airport, and providing the crowds ample space behind roped lines to view the old aircraft as they landed and took their places on the parking ramps.
A festival that will long be remembered. Even the fussy spring weather was accommodating.
But especially, we offer deep thanks to Kim Smith and Nate Grass.
Gary M. Boone