GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Wednesday is the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. Ceremonies are being planned across the globe, including in West Michigan.
The Greatest Generation Day Committee with the help of the Gerald Ford Museum is hosting a flyover to commemorate this day in history.
One of the more prominent bombers in the war — the B-17 Flying Fortress — along with the paratrooper famous C-47 and the B-25 will take off from Ypsilanti and Yankee Air Museum in Belleville Wednesday afternoon.
The flight path will take the planes over the capitol in Lansing. They should be over Ada at 5:55 p.m. before reaching Grand Rapids about a few minutes later. At that point, they’ll make three passes along the Grand River around 6 p.m.
One of the optimal viewing spaces will be from the Gillette Bridge downtown and there are plans to place some veteran portraits nearby on the west bank of the river.
World War II took about 60 million lives in six years. Despite the enthusiasm to fight, the then 19-year-old Stanton Strickland says he wasn’t prepared for what came ahead.
“That was a real awakening to find out what war was like. Talk about being scared,” said Stanton Strickland, a WWII Army veteran.
He’s humbled that the sacrifices remain honored so many years later.
“It feels great. Be relieved from it–I’m back here and still got my mind, but I never agreed to live this old,” he said.
Tuesday, Sept. 1 marks the start of the war, so there will also be a virtual remembrance ceremony and bell-ringing happening at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday on the Gerald R. Ford Foundation Facebook page.