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Air and Space Museum Invites Aviation Vets to Opening

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 28, 2003 – The National Air and Space Museum will highlight the contributions of military aviation during opening ceremonies of the new Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center Dec. 9.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers will give the keynote speech at the event.

The Salute to Military Aviation Veterans is part of the extravaganza opening the annex of the Smithsonian Institution's most popular museum. It is open to all military aviation veterans and their guests.

There is room for only 4,000 people at the ceremony. There is a limit of four tickets per aviation veteran and the tickets are $15 apiece. Museum officials said the veterans will get a first look at the new facility and receive a copy of "America's Hangar" a souvenir book detailing the aviation treasures at the annex.

The annex will open to the general public Dec. 15. The opening is part of the Centennial of Flight celebrations. The 100th Anniversary of the Wright Brothers first flight at Kitty Hawk, N.C., is Dec. 17.

Located at Dulles International Airport in Virginia, the center will house more than 200 famous aircraft. These include the B-29 Superfortress "Enola Gay" that dropped the first atomic bomb, a Marine F-4U Corsair, the SR-71 Blackbird, the B-17 Fortress, a UH-1H Huey helicopter and many other historically significant and meticulously restored aircraft.

Aviation veterans can get ticket information online [link no longer available] or call toll-free (866) 814-4441. More than 1,200 tickets have been sold.

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