Our publication may be called Farm and Dairy, but that doesn’t mean everything we write has to do with farming and dairying. In fact, if you’ve looked through our auction and marketplace sections, you already know that we print a great deal of material beyond agriculture.

On Friday, Aug. 12, I spent the day in North Canton gathering one such story that doesn’t have much to do with agriculture — at least not directly — but it still is a topic all farmers can appreciate.

I attended the Wings of Freedom Tour as it made a landing at the Military Aviation Preservation Society Museum at the Akron-Canton Regional Airport. Better known as “MAPS,” the museum holds an annual event this time of year to recognize World War II veterans.

It was a special day walking around looking at original World War II aircraft and getting to see a few of the planes in action, as both a B-17 and B-24 bomber landed just a few hundred yards from where I stood.

And it was more special because of the people who were there — 15 or more WW II veterans. I enjoyed talking with them as they looked over the aircraft, some of them climbing aboard to recall when they themselves were pilots.

Changing times

As you probably know, many of our World War II veterans are slowly leaving us. Most of the ones I talked to were between 89-91 years old.

But they were still sharp and prudent as they talked about their war years and what they remembered. I can’t say that I understood every model of plane and every fact about every flight they discussed, but it was clear they knew what they were talking about — even 65 years later.

The executive director of the museum, Kim Kovesci, told me there’s no way to experience the planes like actually seeing and hearing them run — the smoke, the noise and vibrations.

He showed me the goose bumps on his arm he got from just talking about the whole ordeal, before the planes even landed. He said it was meant to be an educational event, and also a way to honor the surviving World War II veterans.

“I think, how wonderful is this that we can give these guys this tribute that they deserve,” he said. “This was ‘The Greatest Generation.’”

See for yourself

Take a look at some of the pictures I shot of the event.

And you can watch some of the sights and sounds on this video. It’s a bit shaky because I’m still figuring out new equipment, but it shows some live action of the day.

We’ll also have some type of feature story in this week’s print edition that tells more about who was there and what they said.

And I can assure you I’ll be back to writing about corn and soybeans very soon, but this was time well spent, with good people who have done a great thing for our nation.

Chris Kick lives in Wooster, Ohio. An American FFA Degree recipient, he holds a bachelor’s in creative writing from Ashland University. He spends his free time on his grandparents’ farms in Wayne and Holmes counties.
Chris Kick
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