Patriots Point hosted a joyous Veterans Day celebration on board the USS Yorktown with several highlights. It kicked off in the morning with a symposium featuring Bee Haydu, a WWII WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilot). The WASP program was created in 1942 to free up male pilots so they could fly combat missions. These female pilots broke the glass ceiling for women in aviation, though their battle was long and tough. The WASPs were not considered military until 1977 when they were granted veteran status. Prior to that, a fallen WASP was not granted traditional military honors or allowed to have the U.S. Flag placed on her coffin.
The WASPs were disbanded in 1944; however, Haydu continued flying as a flight instructor. In March of 2010, the WASPs were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. On Veterans Day, Haydu talked about the WASP program and the significance it had in paving the way for female pilots.
Also part of the symposium, Captain Lyndsey Moynihan, a C-17 Aircraft Commander, discussed with Mrs. Haydu the strides female aviators have taken since WWII. In addition to her reserve duties, Moynihan is currently a First Office for Delta Airlines based in Atlanta, GA.
Following the symposium, The United States Naval Academy Women’s Glee Club performed in Hangar Bay 3. The ensemble, which was founded in 1976 when women first entered the Naval Academy, delivers a diverse selection which includes classical, sacred, folk, patriotic, popular and Broadway music.
Other highlights of the morning included the unveiling of the Medal of Honor postage stamp by the US Postal Service and a birthday celebration of six Patriots Point volunteers, all WWII veterans, who are 90 or older. The Veterans Day celebration was be streamed live into Charleston County public school classrooms. For a full album of photos from the events, visit our Facebook page at facebook.com/patriotspoint.org