Thank you, WASP March 10, 2010

Seven years ago today, March 10, 2010, the largest indoor audience in the history of the United States Capitol Building gathered inside, under the dome, to celebrate the Women Airforce Service Pilots of WWII. Some of the overflow audience stood on the balconies of the cavernous Emancipation Hall and packed the overflow rooms. There were WASP, families of WASP, WASP Champions and fans of the WASP, along with Senators, Congress men and women, military personnel and retired military from every branch of the service, a former Attorney General, and the Secretary of the Air Force. On this special day, the Congress of the United States awarded the WASP the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor America can give to civilians. It was on this day, 73 years after their volunteer service to our country, America officially said "THANK YOU."

Let us never forget these sparkling patriots, who believed they could do something no women had ever done before: fly America's military aircraft. During some of the darkest days of World War II, they did just that, and so much more.

God bless all the women who braved the challenges of the times and proved airplanes don't know the difference between a male and a female pilot. WASP flew over 60 million miles in every type of aircraft and on every type of mission within the continental United States. Because of their commitment, talent and determination, planes were delivered, targets were towed, engines were slowtimed, red lined planes were checked out, navigators, bombers and combat pilots were trained and personnel and materials (including parts of the atomic bomb) were delivered. Even though they served over seven decades ago, we all continue to be inspired by their honor, integrity, patriotism, faith, courage, service and sacrifice.

Today, Wings Across America continues to celebrate and share the history of inspirational WASP, which reaches across generations, across borders and across gender. The whispers of encouragement from the WASP still echo for us all to hear: "You can do anything if it is the right thing to do and you put your mind to it." And, as my mother, the WASP, always says, "With God, nothing is impossible."

Respectfully posted by Nancy Parrish, Director of Wings Across America. Pictured l to r: (seated) Lt. Col. Nicole Malachowski, Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley, Tom Brokaw, Rep. John Boehner, WASP Deanie Parrish, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Harry Reid, Sen Mitch McConnel, Senator Barbara Mikluski, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Rep. Susan Davis. A special THANK YOU to all of those who made this high honor for the WASP possible.

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Nancy Parrish

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