PALMDALE — The city will host its annual Flag Day celebration on Friday among the historic aircraft displayed at Joe Davies Heritage Airpark at Palmdale Plant 42.
The free event will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the airpark located at 20th Street East and Avenue P.
“It’s a celebration of our flag, what it means, why we have it and what it took to get it,” Kathleen Whiteside, facility coordinator for the airpark, said.
The celebration will begin with a raising of the original Betsy Ross flag by members of Highland High School’s Air Force JROTC.
The program will be joined by Mayor Steve Hofbauer, members of American Legion Post 348 and other local dignitaries.
As the flag display is changed to today’s 50-star version, guests will hear John Wayne’s recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.
“It’s pretty amazing,” Whiteside said.
Complimentary refreshments will be served and tours of the airpark will be available following the ceremony. The impeccably restored C-46 Commando will be open to visitors.
Flag Day commemorates the adoption of the United States flag on June 14, 1777, by the Second Continental Congress.
It also coincides with the U.S. Army’s celebration of its “birthday,” having been founded two years earlier than the flag.
In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson officially proclaimed the date as Flag Day and the date was established by an act of Congress in 1946, although it is not considered a federal holiday.
In addition to hosting the Flag Day celebration, the airpark kicks off its popular Twilight Tours on Thursday.
The airpark will be open from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., with guided tours of the aircraft displays offered at 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Picnic tables and barbecues are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Additional Twilight Tours are scheduled for July 18 and Aug. 15.
Extended summer hours for the airpark have begun and will last through Aug. 31, excluding major holidays and days of inclement weather.
The park will be open Tuesdays through Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sundays from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Admission and parking are free.
Joe Davies Heritage Airpark at Palmdale Plant 42 is a work in progress by Palmdale to commemorate the myriad aircraft that have been designed, built and flown from this Air Force site.
The displays include an F-86 Sabre, F-100 Super Sabre, F-104 Starfighter, F-105 Thunderchief, A-4C Skyhawk, F-4 Phantom, A-7 Corsair, F-5 Tiger, F-101 Voodoo and F-14 Tomcat. There’s also a C-140 that once saw duty for NASA; a T-38 Talon, a trainer related to the F-5 fighter; a B-52 bomber; and a Burt Rutan-designed Triumph.
The most recent addition, visible from a distance as one approaches from the west, is one of two modified 747 airliners used by NASA to ferry the space shuttle fleet.
Joining the restored aircraft is a scale model of the B-2 stealth bomber, appearing as if in flight.
The park’s namesake, Joe Davies, was long known for his aerospace and civic commitment.
Davies served 30 years in the Air Force as a pilot and installation commander, retiring as a lieutenant colonel, before spending 21 years in aerospace industry with North American Aviation, Rockwell International and The Boeing Co.
Davies was also active in civic affairs in Palmdale, serving on the Palmdale City Council from 1988 through 1999, four of those years as mayor pro tem, and as a commissioner on the city’s Aviation and Aerospace Commission.
For information, please call 661-267-5611.