Patriot Ledger on PatriotLedger.com June 1, 2009
Posted Tue May 30, 2009
Last updated June 01, 2009
PHOTO: Josh Callum / The Patriot Ledger
The participant in the reenactment. A procession of small planes flew from the Mansfield Municipal Airport to the George Harlow Airport in Marshfield to reenact and commemorate the Massachusetts leg of Charles Lindbergh's historic transatlantic flight. Top, left to right: John Papp, Jim (last name unavailable), John Bennett, Dennis Oakman, Steve Oakman, Jim Horan, Dave Fetherston, Bill Middon and Dave Dave Dinneen; kneeling, Ron Nation, John Brennan, To Corcoran Bud Francis and Ken Dye.
A procession of small planes flew from the Mansfield Municipal Airport to the George Harlow After Charles Lindbergh took off from Long Island, N.Y., in May 1927, he last glimpsed American soil over Marshfield before setting off over the Atlantic en route to Paris.
That flight, one of the most significant in aviation history, was remembered Saturday when a procession of small planes recreated the Massachusetts leg of Lindbergh's trip.
"When we found out that Lindbergh left U.S. soil over Marshfield ... we took a little pride in that," said Bud Francis, chairman of Marshfield's airport commission. "We wanted to honor Lindbergh, and so we created a monument and decided to relive the moment" of him setting out across the Atlantic.
The planes flew from the Mansfield Municipal Airport to the George Harlow Field in Marshfield, a course that also took it over the ocean in order to symbolize the rest of Lindbergh's legendary trip.
"The main point of this event was to raise awareness for general aviation" – all aviation that is non-airline and non-military, said Dave Dinneen, director of the Mansfield airport and a participant in the re-enactment. "What people don't realize is that it plays a major part in everyday life – medical transports, mail delivery, passenger travel, search and rescue, and even indirect commerce."
The re-enactment, delayed slightly because of the weather, honored not only Lindbergh but George Harlow.
Harlow, who died Tuesday, established the Marshfield airport and served on the town's airport commission for the past 46 years. In 2001, the airport commission named the airport field after him.
As the planes passed over the airport, one dropped out to create a missing-man formation as a salute to Harlow.
"He was an unbelievably talented man," said Ann Pollard, Marshfield's airport manager. "He had a wealth of knowledge about aviation. When he spoke, people really listened."
The seven planes flew over Middleboro, Bridgewater, Halifax, Hanson, Pembroke and Duxbury before landing in Marshfield. They taxied onto the tarmac, where visitors could look at the planes and talk to the pilots.
"I think it went really well," said Tom Corcoran, a pilot in the event and a native of Braintree. "The fact that so many people showed up and participated is a tribute to the two people being honored, Lindbergh and Harlow."
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