Air Show Honors Fallen Heroes

The Salute to Veterans airshow drew thousands to Columbia Regional Airport.

Thousands of people are gathering at the Columbia Regional Airport this Memorial Day Weekend for one of the biggest free air shows in the country.

Members of the Salute to Veterans Corporation are celebrating their 25th year.

Rain and cloudy skies prevented parachute jumpers from performing on Saturday, but the weather did not stop vintage airplanes from thrilling audiences. One of this yearâ??s honored guests is retired Navy Captain William Bond who attended Columbiaâ??s Hickman High School and Mizzouâ??s ROTC Program.

Bond said, â??The heroes to us are the guys that did not come back. Those are the ones that we are really here to honor today and Memorial Day Weekend.â??

All of the weekendâ??s activities are free. Organizers raised money for the event through private contributions with the help of more than 3,000 volunteers.

Event organizer Mary McCleary Posner said, â??To honor and remember really matters to these people. Work all year round to produce it.â??

Air show visitors have the chance to say thank you to our veterans as they admire vintage aircraft. Visitors to this yearâ??s air show not only get to see the planes in the sky, they get to see them up close and personal on the ground. Pilots gave tours of a rare World War II bomber, the PV-2 Harpoon. Historians call the Harpoon the forgotten bomber because it was used near the end of the war.

Air show visitor Russ Reidinger said, â??We learned that it was a land based plane that flew out of the elusion islands. It carried 1,800 gallons of fuel so they could go a long distance.â??

The annual air show has gone a long distance during the past 25 years honoring veterans. Organizers said they are excited about the next 25 years as the air show continues to get bigger and better every Memorial Day Weekend.

The air show continues on Sunday followed by a Memorial Day parade through Downtown Columbia on Monday morning.