From Abilene Recorder: Leisure Life: WASP Homecoming in Sweetwater honors servicewomen Saturday
On Saturday, the National Women Airforce Service Pilots Museum in Sweetwater will pay tribute to both its historic past and expanding future with its annual Homecoming event.
Beginning at 9 a.m., the festivities will feature 21 surviving members of the WASP program, a national initiative that instructed civilian women in piloting military aircraft during World War II. There was a critical shortage of able-bodied pilots during that era, making the women's contributions crucial to the war effort.
The WASP Homecoming is an annual event, but this year has special significance.
At 10:30 a.m., the visiting WASP women (ages 85 to 98) will participate in a groundbreaking for the museum's upcoming $3 million expansion. The project, which museum directors hope to complete by the end of 2013, will add an entirely new building to the existing WASP Museum hangar. That climate-controlled building will include a theater, museum store and additional displays.
Other highlights of the Homecoming Day include an honor parade from the Texas Theatre to the museum, airplane rides for children ages 8 to 17, autograph and photo sessions from the visiting WASP members and uniformed World War II re-enactors.
The day concludes at 8:35 p.m. with a sunset memorial ceremony for the 38 WASP members who died in the service of their country.
The museum is located at 210 Avenger Field Road, Sweetwater.
For information on the event, visit waspmuseum.org